Cinema for me is…
Anna in 23 frames
1. Describe yourself in ten words.
Principled, ardent, forthright, unwavering, meticulous, diligent. Fairly well-read. Brainy. Charming.
2. Your best quality? Your worst habit?
Best quality: Perseverance.
Worst habit: venerating the past. But I’m steadily outgrowing it.
3. Your dream job?
Film director / theatre director / academic researcher and/or dramaturge and/or film programmer and/or essayist.
4. What do you like most about your country?
Polish herstory. Polish theatre. The works of our poetesses and poets. Publishing house slowo / obraz terytoria.
5. Your favorite dish in your country?
Faworki (angel wings).
6. Which word or phrase in your native language do you like the most and what does it mean?
I like the word “małomiasteczkowy / małomiasteczkowa”. It means that something (or someone) is coming from, originating in or typical of a small(er) town (but, and that’s very important, it does not s i m p l y translate to “provincial” and all the sneering that routinely comes with it). Małomiasteczkowy is also the name of one phenomenal Polish song by Dawid Podsiadło, go listen to it on Spotify.
7. What European capital have you visited lately?
Brussels. If you’re visiting, make your way to Laeken Cemetery (I’m big on cemeteries) and do some wandering around the underground crypt.
8. Other than your own, which European country would you love to live in?
The Netherlands, Belgium or Germany.
9. What does Europe mean to you? 3 values.
Equality, secularism, democracy.
10. What film made you fall in love with cinema?
The Apartment (Billy Wilder, 1960, US), La città delle donne (Federico Fellini, 1980, IT), American Beauty (Sam Mendes, 1999, US).
11. Your favorite film theatre? What do you like about it?
Nowe Horyzonty. New Horizons’ excellent film programming first introduced me to daring, bizzare, affecting, captivating and previously uncharted regions of cinema. I volunteered there as a high school student and have wonderful memories of that experience. And the fantabulous New Horizons International Film Festival is something I look forward to every summer. They do sterling work for cinephiles. And so I proudly carry New Horizons tote bags with me wherever I go.
12. Who is your movie hero?
Matthew Slaughter from Trust (Hal Hartley, 1990, US) and Trinity from The Matrix franchise.
13. Which movie director would you like to be?
Vincent Gallo, Fatih Akin.
14. Briefly describe your favorite scene.
The final scene of The Sopranos (David Chase, 1999-2007, US).
15. What are the 3 best European films you have seen in the last year?
Om det oändliga (Roy Andersson, 2019, SE)
Camille Claudel, 1915 (Bruno Dumont, 2013, FR)
Retfærdighedens ryttere (Anders Thomas Jensen, 2021, DK)
16. Which film character do you most identify with?
Margot from Take This Waltz (Sarah Polley, 2011, US).
17. Your favorite soundtrack or song?
Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events by Thomas Newman.
Favorite songs at the moment are Feeling Myself by Wolf Alice and Strange Overtones by David Byrne.
18. If you had to live in a movie, which one would you like it to be?
Atlantis: The Lost Empire (Kirk Wise and Gary Trousdale, 2001, US) or Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (Tim Burton, 2007, US).
19. Your life becomes a bio-pic. Who plays the role of you?
Laura Linney or Claire Danes.
20. Which talent would you most like to have?
Competitive cheerleading. Eidetic memory.
21. What is your most treasured possession?
My book collection.
22. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Sziget Festival, Budapest, 2017: Macklemore chooses me from a very large crowd of people and invites me onto the stage for a dance off. And, a year after that, I land on stage with Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds for Push the Sky Away and a spectacular sunset at Open’er Festival.
23. What is your motto?
“ ‘Tis your own fault if you don’t flourish now.” It’s from a poem titled To Mrs. Anna [!] Flaxman written by William Blake. And “Mothers of America / let your kids go to the movies!” with everything that follows in Frank O’Hara’s poem Ave Maria.