Afterimage: Agnieszka Holland
Screenings and Q&As with Poland’s Leading Director:
Agnieszka Holland in conversation with
Polish film critic Karolina Pasternak
Thursday, October 25, 2018 – Sunday, October 28, 2018
Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA)
2155 Center Street, Berkeley CA
Afterimage: Agnieszka Holland will include screenings of Provincial Actors, A Woman Alone, Burning Bush (3 parts), and In Darkness. Each film will be followed by a conversation between Agnieszka Holland and Polish film critic Karolina Pasternak.
Susan Oxtoby, a Senior Film Curator at the BAMPFA, describes the series this way:
“Agnieszka Holland’s distinguished career in film and television has bridged countries and continents and ranged from Hollywood studio productions to independent work. Polish by birth, Holland attended film school in Prague, then returned to Poland to work as an assistant director with Krzysztof Zanussi and Andrzej Wajda, with whom she wrote several scripts. Later, she also collaborated with Krzysztof Kieslowski as a screenwriter. This series offers a chance to see two early features that established Holland’s reputation as a director: Provincial Actors, which won the International Critics’ Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, and A Woman Alone, which was initially banned by the Polish authorities for its social critique. Over the years, Holland has made three films that relate to the Holocaust; we will present the third, In Darkness, based on events that occurred in Nazi-occupied Poland. Highly sought after as a director for cable television, Holland has many productions to her credit. She will present her acclaimed miniseries Burning Bush, which tells of Jan Palach’s self-immolation as an act of political defiance in early 1969 in the aftermath of the Prague Spring and the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia (echoing themes of the BAMPFA series 1968 and Global Cinema). Holland will be joined in conversation by Warsaw-based film critic Karolina Pasternak, who will lead discussions after the screenings.”
Agnieszka Holland is a director and screenwriter of film and television who first gained recognition for her contributions to Polish New Wave Cinema. Holland graduated from the Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts (FAMU) in Prague where she studied with Milos Forman and Ivan Passer. Returning to Poland, she went on to serve as Krzysztof Zanussi’s assistant director on his 1973 film Illuminacja (Illumination) and directed stage plays and television productions. She drew on her theatrical experience to create her first feature film, Provincial Actors (1978), which won the FIPRESCI prize at the 1980 Cannes Film Festival.
In 1981, when martial law was declared in Poland in response to the Solidarity Movement, Holland emigrated to France. There, she collaborated on the screenplay adaptation of Andrzej Wajda’s celebrated film Danton (1983), then went on to direct Angry Harvest (1985), which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. In 1992, she earned even greater international acclaim, including a Golden Globe and an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay for Europa Europa, based on the true story of a young boy who joins the Hitler Youth to hide his Jewish identity.
Holland has also worked extensively in Hollywood, directing such films as To Kill a Priest (1988); Europa Europa (1990); Olivier, Olivier (1992); The Secret Garden (1993); Total Eclipse (1995); Julie Walking Home (2001); and Copying Beethoven (2006). For television, she has directed the TV movie Shot in the Heart (2001) and episodes of popular dramatic series including The Wire, Treme, and House of Cards.
In 2010 Holland was Nominated for an Emmy in Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series for her work on HBO’s Treme (2010). Her feature film In Darkness (2011) was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Her latest film Spoor (2017) was the Polish submission to the Oscars.
Karolina Pasternak is a widely published journalist and film critic for the Polish edition of Newsweek; her commentaries on cinema are regularly broadcast on Polish radio and television.