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Woman Alone (1981, 92’) by Agnieszka Holland
Outrageously bleak, hard-hitting story of a single mother trying to raise her child in a small Polish town against all odds. Maria Chwalibóg’s knockout performance shows all the desperation of Irena, who delivers mail by day and dreams of escaping harsh reality of her surroundings. Her love affair with a sickly, disabled man played with great sensitivity by the future heartthrob Bogusław Linda, seems to have a liberating potential, until bad luck strikes again. One of most daring films of its era, A Woman Alone still has raw power of uncompromising, deeply personal cinema. The film was made for Polish TV in 1981, but because of censorship’s intervention wasn’t shown publicly till 1987.
A Woman Alone will be preceded by a 1967 documentary short by Krystyna Gryczełowska, 24 Hours of Jadwiga L., which portrays a woman’s life as drab and full of drudgery as Irena’s, albeit in an urban setting.
ImmedIately before the screening of A Woman Alone, we will present a filmed, 9-minute introduction to the film by Agnieszka Holland herself, as interviewed by Ela Bittencourt exclusively for our series. The extended, 19-minute version of the interview is to be found at: