The breathtaking story of a man gifted with exceptional abilities set against the background of the events of the totalitarian fifties. Read More »
As World War II splits Europe, sixteen-year-old German Jew Salomon (Marco Hofschneider) is separated from his family after fleeing with them to Poland, and finds himself reluctantly assuming various ideological identities in order to hide the deadly secret of his Jewishness. He is bounced from a Soviet orphanage, where he plays a dutiful Stalinist, to the Russian front, where he hides in plain sight as an interpreter for the German army, and back to his home country, where he takes on his most dangerous role: a member of the Hitler Youth. Based on the real-life experiences of Salomon Perel, Agnieszka Holland’s wartime tour de force Europa Europa is a breathless survival story told with the verve of a comic adventure, an ironic refutation of the Nazi idea of racial purity, and a complex portrait of a young man caught up in shifting historical calamities and struggling to stay alive. Read More »
In Agnieszka Holland’s English-language film from 1999, Frank Shore (Ed Harris) is a Catholic priest who works as a postulator, a church official who investigates reports of holy miracles to determine their veracity. Some time back, one of Shore’s investigations had ugly repercussions, and now he devotes his time to running a soup kitchen. He’s called back into service when a number of Catholics ask for the canonisation of the late Helen O’Regan, who is claimed to have performed miracles and whose statue is supposed to weep tears of blood. Read More »
This period piece by Polish director Agnieszka Holland is one of her most successful Hollywood ventures. It’s the second film adaptation of the Henry James novel, but strikes a very different, more feminist and acutely observed, note than William Wyler’s The Heiress, its gaudy 1949 predecessor.
Catherine (Jennifer Jason Leigh) is the plain and socially awkward daughter of wealthy Dr Austin Sloper (Albert Finney). Sloper came into his fortune by marrying a rich woman whose death giving birth to Catherine has permanently embittered him against her. Read More »
A Jewish boy, separated from his family in the early days of WWII, poses as a German orphan and is thereafter taken into the heart of the Nazi world as a ‘war hero’ and eventually made a Hitler Youth. Although improbabilities and happenstance are cornerstones of the film, it is based upon a true story. Written by Keith Loh Read More »
This undeservedly obscure film directed by Agnieszka Holland was her second feature, coming between the better-known Aktorzy Prowincyonalni (Provincial Actors) that launched her career and Kobieta Samotna (A Woman Alone). All three were made in her homeland before the Communist government’s crackdown on Solidarity that led to her going into exile in France. Read More »
Talented Polish director Agnieszka Holland who would be better known in later years because of her films like Europa, Europa (1991) or some of her American works like Washington Square (1997), hits the mark early and again with this ostensible story about provincial actors in Poland. In reality, the comedy-drama can be read as a commentary on the contemporary Polish scene in politics and society. The story begins as a savvy director arrives in a small town to put on a stage play. His leading man is filled with insecurities and goes beyond the confines of his lead role to expand his part, restore his cut lines, and generally outdo himself while taking on some of everyone else’s job, including the director’s. No one wants to lose him because of his drawing power, and the director is caught in a bind. At the same time, the lead actor’s wife is slowly losing her chances at success, being relegated to a much lesser position in the troupe. This fine comedy won the Fipresci award at the 1980 Cannes Film Festival. Read More »