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A Lonely Woman

Agnieszka Holland
Kobieta samotna
Poland 1981/87 / 92’

Communist Poland, the early 1980s. Irena is an overworked postal worker struggling to make ends meet while raising her son alone. Then Jacek, a younger man left crippled by a mining accident, unexpectedly enters her life. Will a meeting between two people who have suffered at the hands of fate change her difficult life while bringing him happiness and love? Filmed in Wrocław, A Lonely Woman was Agnieszka Holland's final film produced in Poland before she left for the West. Its premiere was postponed by the introduction of martial law while Holland was in France. She decided not to return to her homeland, and the film premiered in cinemas six years later. Considered the gloomiest of her films, Holland concluded after making it that "things shouldn't be painted in such dark tones." The film brought the director a Special Jury Prize at the Festival in Gdynia in 1988, as well as acting awards for Marta Chwalibóg and Bogusław Linda for performances that have entered the annals of cinematic history.

Adam Kruk


PFF Gdynia 1988 - Special Prize of Jury, Best Actress, Best Actor

Agnieszka Holland

Agnieszka Holland is a Polish film and stage director, screenwriter, and translator. She has been the president of the European Film Academy since 2014. She began her career in the 1970s when, following her return to Poland after graduating from Prague's FAMU film school, she worked on productions by Krzysztof Zanussi (as an assistant on the set of Illumination) and Andrzej Wajda, with whom she co-founded the Iks film company. She wrote the screenplays for several of Wajda's films, including Rough TreatmentA Love in Germany, and Korczak, as well as for films by other directors, including Jerzy Bogajewicz and Andrzej Zajączkowski. She also worked as a consultant on Krzysztof Kieślowski's Three Colors trilogy. Holland's first original films brought her international acclaim: she captured a FIPRESCI at the Festival in Cannes for Provincial Actors (1978), and Fever was in the running for a Golden Bear at the Berlinale two years later. After making The Lonely Woman and the declaration of martial law, she decided to continue her career in the West (Angry HarvestEuropa, EuropaThe Secret Garden) instead of returning to Poland. Her early style, which combined naturalism with poetry, which has often been described as cold, saturated with irony and anxiety, has evolved over time to become somewhat brighter. Although she continues to take on subjects related to the cruelty and paradoxes of the 20th century, she is often able to extract something more optimistic from them. Having made films that have competed for Oscars, BAFTAs, and Golden Lions in Venice, she has, in recent years, been bringing renewed attention to the television series (including EkipaTremeand Burning Bush).

Selected filmography

1981 Kobieta samotna / A Lonely Woman

1990 Europa, Europa

1995 Całkowite zaćmienie / Total Eclipse

2002 Julia wraca do domu / Julie Walking Home

2011 W ciemności / In Darkness

Cast & Crew

director Agnieszka Holland
screenplay Agnieszka Holland, Maciej Karpiński
cinematography Jacek Petrycki
editing Roman Kolski
music Jan Kanty Pawluśkiewicz
cast Maria Chwalibóg, Bogusław Linda, Paweł Witczak, Teresa Wójcik, Krzysztof Zaleski, Sława Kwaśniewska
producer Jerzy Szebesta, Henryk Wasilewski
production Zespół Filmowy „X”, Telewizja Polska
sales Di Factory
language Polish
colouration colour