Małgorzata Szumowska

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Małgorzata Szumowska (left) with Juliette Binoche at the premiere of her film Elles.

Małgorzata Szumowska (born 26 February 1973 in Cracow, Poland) – is a Polish director, screenwriter and producer. Szumowska is the daughter of journalists Maciej Szumowski and Dorota Terakowska and the sister of Wojciech Szumowski, a documentary film director. She has been married to actor Mateusz Kosciukiewicz since 2012. They have one daughter Alina born on the 3rd of December 2012. She has a son Maciej from a previous relationship with the editor Jacek Drosio. Her 2013 film In the Name Of received the Teddy Award for Best Feature at the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival,[1][2] and received the Grand Prix at the 32nd annual Istambul Film Festival.[3]

Career[edit]

Szumowska spent two years studying History of Art at Jagiellonian University before she started film studies.[4]  Szumowska graduated from the celebrated film college in Łódź, which boasts such alumni as Andrzej Wajda, Roman Polański or Krzysztof Kieślowski.[5]  As a student, Szumowska made a short which was ranked 14th in the history of Łódź Film School[4] Cisza (Silence) is a short documentary film in which Szumowska tried to capture a simple life of a Polish rural family.

Szczęśliwy człowiek (Happy man)[edit]

Szumowska graduated from the film college in 1998 and made her debut feature film Szczęśliwy człowiek (Happy Man) in 2001. The film was nominated to The European Film Award and Szumowska became a member of the European Film Academy in the same year.[6]  The plot explores complicated relationships among three people facing enormous difficulties who nonetheless strive to achieve happiness, or, at least, steer clear of tragedy.[4]

Ono (Stranger)[edit]

Her next film, Ono (Stranger), focused on the relationship between a pregnant woman and the baby she is expecting. Having decided not to have an abortion, the mother tries to prepare her child for the experience of the outside world. Things get complicated when the woman faces health problems.[7]

Ojciec (Father)[edit]

In 2005 Szumowska made a short film Ojciec (Father), one of thirteen contemporary stories written by Polish film directors to celebrate Solidarity which made up the film Solidarność, Solidarność (Solidarity, Solidarity). Based on her father’s experiences, Szumowska's film uses archival footage from his documentaries.[8][9]

33 sceny z życia (33 Scenes from Life)[edit]

A significant breakthrough in Szumowska’s career came in 2008, with 33 sceny z życia (33 Scenes from Life), starring Julia Jentsch, which won a special prize at the Locarno International Film Festival.[4] Inspired by her own life, but, as she is careful to emphasize, “not autobiographical”,[4] the film tells the story of Julia. A talented photographer married to Piotr, a successful composer, Julia has a perfect and financially comfortable life until one day the idyll is interrupted.

Elles[edit]

Szumowska worked also as a co-producer of Antichrist, Lars von Trier’s horror film released in 2009.[10] In 2011, she completed her international project, Elles, starring Juliette Binoche. The worldwide première of Elles took place at Toronto International Film Festival.[11]  It tells the story of Anne, a Parisian journalist investigating prostitution among the students. Her research takes her to two girls, Charlotte and Alice, whose lives differ greatly from her own. They let her discover a world which she finds both repulsive and seductive.[12][13]

In the Name Of (film)[edit]

Adam is a Catholic priest who discovered his calling as a servant of God at the relatively late age of 21. He now lives in a village in rural Poland where he works with teenagers with behavioral problems who fight and yell abuse. He declines the advances of a young brunette named Ewa; saying he is already spoken for. However; celibacy is not the only reason for his rejection. Adam knows that he desires men and that his embrace of the priesthood has been a flight from his own sexuality. When he meets Dynia; the strange and taciturn son of a simple rural family; Adam's self-imposed abstinence becomes a heavy burden.

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