Agnieszka Holland

Active - 1973 - 2017  |   Born - Nov 28, 1948 in Warsaw, Poland  |   Genres - Drama

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Best recognized for her highly politicized contributions to Polish New Wave cinema, Agnieszka Holland ranks as one of Poland's most prominent filmmakers. Following her graduation from the Prague Film School in 1971, Holland served as Krzysztof Zanussi's assistant director on his 1973 film Illuminacja. Director Andrzej Wajda served as her mentor during this time, and the two collaborated on a number of scripts. Holland then directed stage plays and TV movies, later drawing upon her theatrical experience to create her 1978 feature Aktorzy Prowincjonalni, which was outwardly a chronicle of the tense backstage relations within a small town theater company but was actually a metaphor for Poland's political situation. The film won the FIPRESCI prize at the 1980 Cannes Film Festival. Just before the enactment of Polish martial law in December 1981, Holland moved her operations to Paris. Her 1985 feature film Bittere Ernte/Angry Harvest, an examination of the relationship between a gentile farmer and the Jewish woman he conceals during World War II, was nominated for an Academy award for Best Foreign Language Film. Six years later, Holland earned even greater international acclaim and a score of awards, including a Golden Globe, for Europa, Europa (1991). The powerful true story of a young Jewish man who assumes the identity of a Nazi in order to survive the Holocaust, it provided an unforgettable look at human atrocities and the nature of identity. Holland followed it up with another tract on the nature of assumed identity with Olivier, Olivier (1992), which was not as well received. Her beautifully photographed version of The Secret Garden (1993) -- one of the director's numerous Hollywood forays -- fared better, as did her 1997 adaptation of Washington Square. Two years later, Holland directed The Third Miracle, a drama about religious faith and the nature of miracles. In addition to directing, Holland also occasionally works on screenplays; some of her most notable work has been on Wajda's Danton (1982) and Krzysztof Kieslowski's initial entry in his "Trois Coleurs" series, Blue (1993).

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