News & Notes

An Evening with Agnieszka Holland

Repost from the DCJCC website at

Screening of Europa Europa followed by on stage discussion with Agnieszka Holland and Aviva Kempner. Preceded by Shabbat Dinner with the filmmaker (optional, separate ticket) at the DCJCC.

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 30 at 7:30 pm (Shabbat Dinner at 6:00pm)

Co-Sponsored by Women in Film and Video and The Ciesla Foundation

Co-presented by EntryPointDC

Best recognized for her highly politicized contributions to Polish New Wave cinema, Agnieszka Holland ranks as one of Poland’s most prominent filmmakers. Director Andrzej Wajda served as her mentor during her early career, and the two collaborated on a number of scripts. Her 1985 feature Bitter 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).

Last year, her latest work, the critically heralded In Darkness was also nominated for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. Select highlights of Holland’s impressive catalog include Washington Square, The Secret Garden, Three Colors: Blue (screenplay) and several TV episodes of The Wire and Treme.

Director Agnieszka Holland (113 min, Germany/France/Poland, 1990)
In Polish with English Subtitles

For many years Solomon Perel kept silent about his exceptional wartime experience. Agnieszka Holland brings his story to light, drawing a compassionate portrait of a young German Jew caught in the riptide of history. On the eve of World War II, Solly Perel’s family resettles in Poland. When the Nazi invasion occurs, they move eastward again, only to encounter fleeing Soviet Jews. Amidst the confusion, young Solly begins a Candide-like journey, negotiating the dangerous terrain of totalitarian machinations. Self-preservation becomes a strategy of wits at the expense of his Jewish identity. Interned in a Soviet orphanage, captured by the German “enemy” and, in yet another bizarre and ironic twist of fate, finding himself a “war hero,” Solly must continually reappraise his situation. When sent to a school for the German elite, the boy’s thoroughly convincing charade as a little Nazi threatens his own identity. In the film’s ultimate irony, the one physically undeniable emblem of Solly’s heritage proves his salvation. Keenly sensitive to her protagonist’s dilemma, Holland poses the question: “What is a man in the 20th century? Does our fate depend on us, on our choice of actions or are we playthings of history?”

Following the film there will be an on-stage Q&A with Agnieszka Holland, moderated by WJFF Founder and local filmmaker icon Aviva Kempner (Partisans of Vilna, The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg and Yoo-Hoo Mrs. Goldberg).

Please join us for an intimate Shabbat dinner with the filmmaker prior to the screening. Space for the dinner is limited. Please be sure to buy your tickets ahead of time.

BUY TICKETS (Advanced ticket sales end at 4:00pm on the day of the event. NO tickets will be sold at the door).

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