- 1 hr 40 min
Now considered an example of classic 80s Czech cinema, Anna is the brainchild of famed Polish screenwriter Agnieszka Holland. Loosely chronicling the true life of Polish actress Elzbieta Czyzewska, it frankly offers up the tale of a Czech actress who seeks to make her acting dreams come true in the New York City theater scene. Anna beats the pavement night and day and gets nowhere, while her protegee meets with all but overnight success and tremendous critical popularity. The film, directed by Yurek Bogayevicz, also features a very young Sofia Coppola. Anna flees the deadly and suffocating atmosphere of a Cold-War-era Eastern Bloc. She receives many invitations to return to the Old Country and rediscover the Czech theater scene that made her famous and scored her a native following. Anna continuously declines. Meanwhile, she meets a beautiful and young compatriot, a girl named Krystyna. Long before their first encounter, we see Krystyna close up. When the movie opens, she is arriving in America as a Czech refugee, determined to seek out the famous Czech actress (Anna) who has so inspired her, and many others. That Anna has been barred from reentering Poland as a result of the 1968 communist invasion only lends her greater fascination in Krystyna's eyes. The trouble for Anna begins almost as soon as she sets foot on American soil. She is unknown and not getting any younger. She never quite clinches her big break, and must resort to demeaning auditions and chauvinist directors who don't know who she is and could care less. Anna's marriage to a very self-absorbed American music video director only intensifies her desperation. Krystyna's appearance represents a fresh breath and a warm distraction from Anna's cold, insignificant NYC life. Anna and Krystyna strike up a sisterly relationship, one that quickly verges on codependency. Their individual/collective struggles make for a powerful and entertaining commentary on female relationships, immigration, sexism, and the arts.