Agata Buzek • Shooting Star 2010, Poland
Like an English lady
Born in Pyskowice, in southern Poland, Agata Buzek made her acting debut in 1997 in Robert Gliński’s Love Me and Do Whatever You Want and went on to work in Poland, France, Italy and Germany, with directors including Peter Greenaway, Marleen Gorris, Krzysztof Zanussi and Andrzej Wajda. Nominated by the Polish Film Academy for an Eagle Award in 2003 for her performance as Klara in Wajda’s The Revenge, she made a name for herself abroad with lead roles in Alan Smithee’s Paparazzo and Birgit Moller’s Valerie.
Polish audiences have considered her a star since she played Sabina in Borys Lankosz’s The Reverse [+see also:
interview: Agata Buzek - actress
interview: Borys Lankosz
film profile], which earned her Best Actress at last year’s 34th Gdynia Polish Film Festival.
Speaking about Buzek, Lankosz (director of The Reverse) said: "She is a particularly warm person. However, she knows how to set boundaries, which she may or may not allow you to cross. I don’t know what her criteria are in this sense. But I think I’ve managed to cross these boundaries, and get to know her more deeply".
He continued: "I observed her during breaks in shooting. She never came out of character. I watched her, she was sitting in a corner: she was Agata but, at the same time, she was Sabina. She reminds me a little of Emily Watson, with whom she worked on Marleen Gorris’ Within the Whirlwind. Agata seems to be made of the same moral fibre, like an English lady, capable of doing everything with the greatest courage".
Dividing her time between cinema and the theatres of Warsaw (Montownia, Teatr Rozmaitości, Polonia), Buzek takes on a surprising variety of roles. She appears in both comedies and dramas, in period and highly contemporary films. In a feature like The Reverse, she plays, with equal success, a young girl and a very old woman.
Before shooting The Reverse, Buzek spent her time exploring 1950s literature, listening to music from the era and talking to those who remembered the reality of Stalinism in Poland. She always prepares her roles thoroughly. To prepare for Greenaway’s Nightwatching [+see also:
film profile], she became more Titia Uylenburg than Agata Buzek, before shooting Gorris’ Within the Whirlwind, she was first and foremost Lena and when she has to appear on stage in Chekhov’s The Three Sisters, she sees the world through Natasha’s eyes instead. "I tend to carry a character deep inside me, even when I work elsewhere for a short while. The character is on my mind and develops within me, even while I go about my daily business."
Daughter of Jerzy Buzek, former Polish prime minister and current president of the European Parliament, Agata does not have a passion for politics. In an interview with Gazeta Wyborcza, she said: "When I see my father, we don’t necessarily talk about political affairs, but about our personal lives instead".
When asked who her role models and mentors were, she replied: "I don’t just have one, I have several. But they’re not necessarily my teachers. My friends can fulfil this role just as well. Every time you get involved in a job, you may meet someone who brings something new and from whom you can learn a lot."
Did you enjoy reading this article? Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive more stories like this directly in your inbox.