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Agnieszka Piotrowska

Professor of Film and Cultural Studies

Polish born and London-based filmmaker, writer and academic specialised in psychoanalysis, applied philosophy and film

Agnieszka Piotrowska is a British (Polish born) award winning filmmaker, author and theorist. She is particularly well known for her iconic documentary Married to the Eiffel Tower (2008) about women who love objects and not people. She worked in the industry for many years making films for the BBC, Channel 4, Channel Five, National Geographic and Discovery before in 2012 obtaining her PhD at Birkbeck, University of London, in psychoanalysis and film under the supervision of Stephen Frosh and Laura Mulvey. Her doctoral thesis and subsequent book Psychoanalysis and Ethics in Documentary Film (2014) interrogates transference and asymmetrical power relationships– themes that recur throughout her creative and academic work.

Since 2012 Piotrowska has embarked on a series of films set in Harare, Zimbabwe, partly based on research initiated by an arts grant from the British Council. The work explores the dynamics of history, identity, memory and gender-relations in a post-colonial culture and includes a number of works such as Lovers in Time or How we didn’t get arrested in Harare (2015), an internationally acclaimed experimental documentary exploring issues of freedom of speech and post-traumatic cultural identity. Her fiction feature film Escape (2016) tells the story of a mixed race young man from London, arriving in Harare to locate his father and family roots, and finding more than he had bargained for. The film was acclaimed internationally. A new film Repented (2019) based on Stanley Makuwe’s play Finding Temeraire (which Piotrowska also directed in Harare) explores intense personal relationships against the backdrop of colonial subjugation.

As an author and theorist, Agnieszka Piotrowska is known for several books on the relationship between psychoanalysis, applied philosophy and film, including Black and White: Cinema, Politics and the Arts in Zimbabwe (Routledge, 2017). Her latest book The Nasty Woman and the neo femme fatale in contemporary cinema (2019) posits a new theoretical category of stories, characters and female authorship in cinema.

Piotrowska has also contributed to non academic publications and blogs. Since 2013 Piotrowska has co-coordinated the international research initiative Psychoanalysis in Our Time resulting in symposia, presentations and publications. She is a member of the Executive Committee of the British Association for Film and Screen Studies and the Chair for the Practice Research Awards within BAFTSS.

Piotrowska is Head of School, Film, Media and Performing Arts at the University for the Creative Arts and a Professor of Film and Cultural Studies.

Other posts by Agnieszka Piotrowska
Green Border (Zielona granica)
Ordinary Poles are faced with difficult ethical choices as refugees grapple with horrors at the Polish-Belarusian border - Agnieszka Holland's politically-charged new drama is in various festivals; in cinemas on Friday, June 21st. [Read More...]

A Bit of a Stranger
Four generations of women in Russian-occupied Ukraine explore family trauma and ethnic identity through brutally honest conversations - from the Panorama section ofnthe 74th Berlin International Film Festival [Read More...]

I Am Not Everything I Want To Be (Ještě Nejsem, Kým Chci Být)
Czech photographer captures the ordinary lives of her countryfolk, just as major historical events reshape the nation's history - from the 58th edition of Karlovy Vary [Read More...]

One film, many taboos broken
This year's big Oscar-winner subverts capitalism, Western aspirations and the colonial practices of documentary filmmaking, while also providing viewers with tiny doses of pleasure and hope - argues professor Agnieszka Piotrowska [Read More...]

My Octopus Teacher
A South African man who suffers a mid-life crisis rediscovering himself through his relationship with an octopus in a bay near Cape Town in South Africa - now on Netflix [Read More...]

Young, promising and “nasty”
Professor Agnieszka Piotrowska explains why PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN indeed starts as promising feminist movie before it falls into the trappings it set out to avoid: the patriarchal system and the "nasty woman" trope [Read More...]

I Care a Lot
Rosamund Pike stars as a evil Lesbian scammer in this easy-to-watch dark comedy, which offers no redemption whatsoever - available now on VoD [Read More...]

Malcolm and Marie
A filmmaker and his girlfriend/muse attempt savage their relationship, raising questions about the essence of authorship, race and the male gaze - superb black and white drama is now available on Netflix [Read More...]

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