Agnieszka Holland was born in Warsaw, but went to study film directing at FAMU in Prague. She began her film career working in Poland with Krzysztof Zanussi as assistant director, and Andrzej Wajda as her mentor. She wrote several scripts with Wajda before directing her own films, which were soon winning awards at festivals (Cannes, Gdansk, Berlin, Montreal, Golden Globe Award). Her directorial debut was “Provincial Actors” in 1979.
She was twice an Oscar nominee – for: “Angry Harvest” (1985) and “Europa, Europa” (1990). She is not afraid of taking up complicated themes, her characters are always entangled with great history, but the director is interested above all in psychological truth and emotions of protagonists.
To the world audience she is best known for her films made in the West, like the aformentioned two Oscar-nominated titles, and “Olivier, Olivier”, “Washington Square” with Jennifer Jason Leigh and Albert Finney, “Total Eclipse” with Leonardo di Caprio and David Thewlis, “Julie Walking Home” with Miranda Otto, or “Secret Garden”.
She also worked for television – she directed, among others, “Red Wind”, a tv thriller produced by Sydney Pollack, which was aired on Arte in the series “Fallen Angels”.
Viewers could also see Agnieszka Holland as an actress in a few titles, for example in famous “Interrogation” by Ryszard Bugajski. She also wrote screenplays for other directors, such as “Danton” and “Korczak” directed by Andrzej Wajda.
Her filmography as a director includes among others: “Julie Walking Home” (2002), “The Third Miracle” (1999), “Washington Square” (1997), “Total Eclipse” (1995), “The Secret Garden” (1993), “Olivier, Olivier” (1992), “Europa, Europa” (1990), “To Kill a Priest” (1988), “Angry Harvest” (1986), “Fever” (1981), “A Lonely Woman” (1981), “Provincial Actors” (1979).