Holland was educated in Prague, studying with Milos Forman and Ivan Passer. In Poland, she encountered persecution such that eventually she moved to Paris.
Her career began in Warsaw, and she was Andrzej Wajda’s screenwriter on several films: Without Anesthesia (78); Danton (82); A Love in Germany (83); The Possessed (87); and Korczak (90). She also wrote the screenplay lor another fascinating study in displacement, Anna (87, Yurek Bogayeviez), and helped on the script for Blue (93, Krzysztof Kieslowski ).
Holland continues to be inconsistent. Despite a script by Christopher Hampton and the presence of DiCaprio and David Thewlis (or was it because of those threatening assets?), Total Eclipse proved to he Rimbaud and Verlaine for strict beginners. Whereas, Washington Square was an admirable translation that used Albert Finney and [ennifer Jason Leigh very well. The Third Miracle was another dud. But Shot in the Heart, for IIBO, was a superb telling of the problems of the Gilmore family (as in Gary Gilmore) with thrilling performances from Elias Koteas and Giovanni Ribisi. So it's a very tricky career to read—an obviously talented. intelligent director, who seldom does what is exactly expected of her.
In several films over the years, Agnieszka Holland showed a remarkable talent for stories about displacement—the farmer who protects a Jewish woman during the war in Angry Harvest; the Jewish youth whose escape leads him into the German army in Europe, Europe; the fairy tale of Olivier Olivier, in which a lost child seems to return. These were pictures in which a tough.
unsentimental structure and attitude were allied to a magical eye. 11 was all the more disappointing then that Hollands Secret Garden felt staid and unadventurous, and much less than Fred Wilcox’s 1949 version, which has maybe the best ensemble of child actors ever seen. Holland’s version had many virtues, but it felt like a TV movie.