Agnieszka Holland : challenging Holocaust memory and representation in film




Thomas, Patrick Joseph

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The following investigation into the Holocaust films of Polish-Jewish filmmaker Agnieszka Holland aims to identify the ways in which Holland both pushes the genre forward and challenges the traditional memory of the war in Poland. Rather than adhering to formalist conventions in portraying the Holocaust in cinema, Holland breaks the genre’s representational taboos, avoiding a binary narrative and instead engaging in a morally challenging confrontation with the past. Moreover, by focusing on the shared suffering of Poles and Jews during the war and occupation, Holland’s Holocaust films recast the memory of the war to better reflect its complex and at times ambiguous nature. This critical perspective offers a reconciliatory discourse in the competing national memories of both Catholic Poles and Jewish Poles. Specifically, this investigation examines Angry Harvest, Europa Europa, and In Darkness to conclude that the Holocaust films of Agnieszka Holland present a more complete and nuanced portrait of wartime conditions during World War II in Eastern Europe, and Poland in particular.


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