Section: Women's roles in socialism and beyond



Agnieszka Holland
PL, 1981, 92 Min

Work hard as she might, Irena's salary doesn’t suffice and she anyway wouldn’t have the time to queue for hours for groceries. She wants to live a normal life, but what is normality when life is a constant struggle for survival? With its harsh criticism of the socialist regime, this film remained banned in Poland until 1987.

Irena lives with her 8-year-old son in a rundown apartment on the outskirts of Wrocław. She takes care of a bedridden relative and works as a postwoman. On one of her rounds she meets Jacek, to whom she delivers his disability pension. It can’t be said that love develops between the pair, since in this film every relationship, every human interaction is marked by hostility and resentment. In a world made of poverty and desperation, there can be no space for a happy coexistence. Giving this dark tale the form of a classic tragedy, cult director Agnieszka Holland points out the flaws of a socialist society which excludes the weakest and thus causes even more misery.

Stadthalle: original version with English subtitles + German simultaneous translation

Event information

Glad-House, Wed 09 Nov | 8:30 pm
SlowTalk on "Women in Socialism and After".

The talk will focus on DEFA film with its diverse portrayal of women's roles as well as female filmmaking in the GDR. What have we retained as a legacy of this to this day and what does the current film business look like for female filmmakers? This event will also include the presentation of the e-book "They. Female directors of DEFA and their films", edited by Cornelia Klauß and Ralf Schenk, will take place.


Agnieszka Holland, Maciej Karpiński
Jacek Petrycki
Aleksander Gołębiowski
Roman Kolski
Jerzy Snieżawski, Danuta Węgrzyn
Jan Kanty Pawluśkiewicz
Maria Chwalibóg, Bogusław Linda
Agnieszka Holland

Agnieszka Holland -

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