Agnieszka Grochowska • Actress
Shooting Star 2007 – Poland
by Dorota Hartwich
A graduate of the Warsaw National Academy of Theatre, Agnieszka Grochowska began her career with roles in films by Dariusz Gajewski (Alarm, Warsaw). Nominated for the Gdynia Golden Lions with Magdalena Piekorz’s The Welts [+see also:
film profile], she became know internationally for her roles in Lena Einhorn’s Nina's Journey (Swedish Golden Beetle for Best Actress), Sabine Michel’s Take Your Life and Jan Kruger’s En Route.
Cineuropa: You divide your time between cinema and theatre. Do you prefer one to the other?
Agnieszka Grochowska: Both complement each other. In theatre I can practise more than in cinema, because on film sets in Poland we do hardly any rehearsals, we just shoot, while in cinema I can put into practice what I learn on stage. But at the same time, I always find a film shoot breathtaking. It’s always an adventure, an experiment. Theatre on the other hand also has its magic. You are there to perform and meet people face to face. With each show, you are responding to a kind of vocation and you’re fighting against your own weaknesses.
On an international level, you were particularly acclaimed for your role in Lena Einhorn’s Nina's Journey, where you play a sombre character. Did this mark you in a special way?
This production affected me profoundly especially since it’s a personal story. In fact, I play the role of the director’s mother. I thought that the subject of the Holocaust was widely known to us in Poland, however some scenes still deeply moved me. I’m grateful to Lena for not having wanted to overdramatise her story. She often said that she didn’t want to add anything because that’s the way her mother told it. So the story remains very authentic and quite dramatic from time to time.
You are currently working with Janusz Kamiński on his film Hania. What are you learning from this experience?
For me, it’s above all a chance to work with an excellent man. Janusz is without doubt an exceptional man because he is an exceptional cinematographer and vice versa. He is an extraordinary observer, very attentive, skilled at observing. He knows how to see the other and that surprises me a lot. In my experience, if on the set the actor suggests a solution to the director, the actor is often right, as he knows how to choose the best means of expression. But with Janusz it’s different. He often gives the actor his own solution, which is the best because it brings the best results. That’s very enriching and inspiring for me because what I appreciate the most in my work is meeting others.
What kind of film do you dream of starring in?
In a costume drama. At the moment, especially in Poland, we make very few of them. Cinema is dominated by moral films, which are related to our everyday life. In a costume drama there is a lot of room for expression, it’s possible to go beyond the day-to-day towards the universal. Only the morals change with time, the essence of man, his thoughts and his emotions remain the same.
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