Agnieszka Grochowska is a film and theatre actor, born on 31st December 1979 in Warsaw.
Film and theatre actor, born on 31st December, 1979 in Warsaw.
She is one of the most popular and best actors of her generation in Poland, and laureate of the Zbyszek Cybulski Award for best young film actors and the award for Best Female Role at the Gdynia Film Festival.
She graduated from the Acting Department of the Aleksander Zelwerowicz Theatre Academy in Warsaw in 2002. In the same year, she debuted in the film Alarm, directed by her future husband, Dariusz Gajewski.
In 2003, she joined the acting team of the Studio Theatre, where she starred opposite Krystyna Janda in Mewa (The Seagull), directed by Zbigniew Brzoza, and in Amadeusz (Amadeus) by the same director, opposite Zbigniew Zapasiewicz. Her performances earned her a nomination for the Feliks Award for Best Début.
The film that paved her way to a film career was Warszawa (Warsaw) by Dariusz Gajewski from 2003, in which Grochowska played a young girl who moves to the Polish capital to live with her boyfriend she met during the summer. Gajewski's film was one of the most popular productions of 2003 in Poland, receiving six awards at the Gdynia Film Festival.
The film that turned out to be crucial in Grochowska's early career, was Magdalena Piekorz's Pręgi (The Welts), an adaptation of a novel by Wojciech Kuczok. Her role as Tania, a girl who changes the life of the film's main protagonist, earned the actor a nomination for the Eagle Polish Film Award, as well as a nomination for Film magazine's Golden Duck award.
International film roles
Her physical appearance and talent were very soon appreciated by various European directors, which led Grochowska to developing a career not just in her native Poland, but also in Scandinavia and Germany. In 2004, she starred in the German Unterwegs by Jan Krüger, while one year later, in Sabine Michel's film Nimm dir dein Leben.
In 2006, she starred in the main role in the Polish-Swedish movie Ninas resa. She played a young Jew who is relocated to the Warsaw Ghetto together with her family during the Second World War. Lena Einhorn's moving film was one of the best Swedish productions of the year, but it was never distributed in Poland. This was not Grochowska's last Scandinavian film. In 2009, she appeared in the Norwegian comedy Upperdog by Sara Johnsen.
In 2010, Grochowska played the main character in the Belgian-Polish Beyond the Steppes, directed by Vanja d' Alcantara. She played Nina, the wife of a Polish officer who is banished together with her young child to the steppes of Central Asia. She is sent to work in a sovkhoz, but one day decides to escape.
In 2015, Grochowska acted in Daniel Espinosa's Child 44, opposite such stars as Tom Hardy and Gary Oldman, as well as in the Japanese film Persona Non Grata by Cellin Gluck, telling the story of a Japanese diplomat who saved ten thousand Jews from extermination during the Second World War.
Grochowska's best performances in Poland
In 2010, Grochowska was nominated for the Zbyszek Cybulski Award for best female actor of the young generations for her roles in two films: Nie opuszczaj mnie (Don't Leave Me) by Ewa Stankiewicz, in which she played a woman who is not able to cope with a death of a loved one, and Maciej Ślesicki's Trzy minuty. 21:37 (Three Minutes. 21:37), where she played the role of a language teacher. The latter role brought her a Golden Lion for Best Supporting Female Role at the 2010 Gdynia Film Festival.
She did not receive the Zbyszek Cybulski Award until three years later. In 2013, she was once again nominated for two important roles: in Filip Marczewski's Bez wstydu (Shameless) and Agnieszka Holland's In Darkness. In the former, she played a sister having a forbidden affair with her younger brother, while in Holland's film, she was a Jewish woman hidden in Lviv's sewers by the main hero, Leopold Socha.
In 2012, Grochowska also received the Award of the “Two Theatres” Polish National Festival of Radio and Television Theatre in Sopot for her role as Hanna Arendt in the television theatre show Rzecz o banalności miłości (The Banality of Love) by Savyon Liebrecht, directed by Feliks Falk.
One year later, she appeared in one of her most popular film roles. In Wałęsa. Człowiek z nadziei (Wałęsa: Man of Hope) by Andrzej Wajda, she played Danuta Wałęsa, wife of the legendary leader of the Solidarność movement. She gave a powerful performance as a marginalised woman bringing up the children by herself, and sacrificing herself for her husband's career.
She offered one of her best film performances in Dariusz Gajewski's film Obce niebo (Strange Heaven) from 2015. She played thirty-something Basia, who leaves for Sweden together with her husband and daughter in order to find a better life there. One day, her daughter is taken away by social workers, which forces the Pole to fight for her return. In Grochowska's interpretation, Basia is a hysterical person unable to control her emotions, and a loving mother prepared for any sacrifice. She was awarded for Best Leading Female Role in this film at the Gdynia Film Festival in 2015.
Sources: Filmpolski.pl, Filmweb.pl, own materials, ed. BS., transl. AM, December 2015