Agnieszka Holland: "I'm happy when I feel that the film touches the minds and hearts of viewers"

On October 1, a master class by the famous Polish director Agnieszka Holland took place at the 11th Odesa International Film Festival.

Born in Warsaw, Agnieszka Holland has directed and / or written more than thirty films during her filmmaking career. Agnieszka studied directing at the Prague School of Film and Television (FAMU). She started her career as an assistant to Krzysztof Zanussi and Andrzej Wajda, having written several screenplays for their films. Her directorial debut, Provincial Actors, was honored by the International Film Critics' Jury at the 1979 Cannes Film Festival. In 2017, Agnieszka Holland was an honorary guest of the OIFF and received the Golden Duke for her contribution to filmmaking.

During the quarantine, I've hardly left my country house for 4 weeks. I didn't think about my schedule, it was a real vacation. During this time, I had an opportunity to think about the things that really matter to me".

My films reflect my personal experience, which created certain patterns of my perception of the present. It seems to me that neither dismantling and ignoring of regimes nor the actions of communist leaders have made us immine in order to analyze totalitarian regimes. I feel responsible and obliged to go back to that time and show how relevant some mechanisms are to the present."

We repeat the mistakes and patterns of the past without realizing their consequences. Understanding comes when it is too late. Nowadays, when everything happens very quickly, there is a feeling of constant change and fluidity, and the reality itself is very flexible. It seems to me that being able to look at the situation from a certain distance allows us to better understand the present. For me, history is not the past or something dead and finished; it can be relevant now."

I believe that, at the moment of shooting, I know what I want to achieve; however, it does not mean that my work embodies a concept that's familiar to me. The biggest challenge for me is to give space and not be authoritarian. This is especially true for actors. I try not to tell them what to do, to give them the opportunity to contribute something personal and unique to the process."

Releasing a film for wide audience is the same as showing them your own child. Sometimes there is criticism, and it hurts."

Film industry is more difficult for female directors. A woman constantly needs to be more interesting, better, more convincing and more successful than a male director. She must constantly leave the comfort zone. Film critics are also much more critical of women who make films. Some comments may be personal. However, now we can see positive changes, because women's voices are beginning to be heard."

"A year ago, after the premiere of The Price of Truth, its popularity began to grow. We had a meaningful reaction from the media that analyzed the facts and historical background. The film is relevant and fits into modernity, because the description of the Holodomor as a crime against humanity can be compared to other criminal deeds. This became a reason to investigate this event and its consequences, as well as its impact on Ukraine."

"When I feel that the film touches the minds and hearts of the audience, I'm happy."

Agnieszka Holland's new film "Charlatan" will close the 11th Odesa International Film Festival, which takes place online from September 25 until October 3.