On this episode, we celebrate the work of great Polish filmmaker Agnieszka Holland, focusing on Europa Europa, Washington Square, and Charlatan
This episode features Editor-in-Chief Alex Heeney, Executive Editor Orla Smith, and Fiona Underhill, Editor-in-Chief of JumpCut Online
On This Episode
- Why Agnieszka Holland is a great director (3:06)
- Charlatan (19:22)
- Europa, Europa (38:50)
- Washington Square (53:46)
- Themes in Holland’s work (1:10:04)
- Sex in Holland’s films (1:16:20)
A biopic of Jan Mikolásek, who becomes a rich man by diagnosing people’s urine and selling herbal remedies. His practice helps him survive the Nazi occupation and later the totalitarian Czech state. Late in his life, he’s arrested for being a ‘charlatan’ and must stand trial for murder, only to learn he’s being framed. The court case serves as a device to have him look back on his life story: how he became who he is today, learned his trade, and the relationships he had along the way.
Europa, Europa (1990)
Based on the true story of Solomon Perel, it’s the story of a German wish boy, Solek (Marco Hofschneider) who survived the Holocaust by pretending to be a Nazi German. After Cristallnacht, Solek and his family move to Poland, but when they discover the Germans are invading, Solek and his brother leave to escape to Russia. They’re separated, and Solek ends up in a Russian orphanage for several years. When it’s bombed by the Germans, he escapes and when is faced with the Germans who are asking who is Jewish, he makes a snap decision to pretend to be a gentile and finds himself working as a Russian-German translator for the Nazis, and finally, in a school for the Hitler Youth.
Europa, Europa is streaming on the Criterion Channel in Canada and the US
Washington Square (1997)
Based on the novella by Henry James, Washington Square is the story of Catherine (Jennifer Jason Leigh), an heiress who falls in love with a charming but poor man, Morris (Ben Chaplin). Her father (Albert Finney) disapproves and believes Morris is only after her fortune so he threatens to disinherit her should she marry against his will. He also separates them for a year, and through this and his suspicions, manages to kill off any love there was between them. Maggie Smith also stars as her aunt Lavinia.
Washington Square is available on VOD and streaming on Hoopla in Canada and the US
- Sign up for our Lockdown Film School session with Agnieszka Holland
- Read Alex’s interview with Holland, about her 2017 film Spoor
- Read Alex’s review of Charlatan
- View our other Lockdown Film School sessions, including Patricia Rozema, Mike Leigh, Amma Asante, and Alice Winocour
- Episode 55: Comparing Adaptations of The Secret Garden
- Episode 88: The 2021 Oscar Best International Feature Category