biography, drama I 2019 I
Poland, United Kingdom, Ukraine
SUNDAY, 30/06/2018 6:30pm
Original Title: Mr. Jones
Duration: 120 min
Language: English | Ukrainian | Russian | Welsh
Director: Agnieszka Holland
Writer: Andrea Chalupa
Academy Award nominee Agnieszka Holland (Europa Europa, Spoor, In Darkness) brings to the screen the extraordinary untold story of Gareth Jones, an ambitious young Welsh journalist who travelled to the Soviet Union in 1933 and uncovered the appalling truth behind the Soviet “utopia” and Stalin’s regime. Initially a regular news investigation, Jones’ quest quickly turned into a life-or-death journey… helping inspire George Orwell’s famous allegory "Animal Farm".
1933. Gareth Jones (James Norton) is an ambitious young Welsh journalist who gained fame after his report on being the first foreign journalist to fly with Hitler. Whilst working as an advisor to Lloyd George, he is now looking for his next big story. The Soviet “utopia” is all over the news, and Jones is intrigued as to how Stalin is financing the rapid modernisation of the Soviet Union.
On leaving his government role, Jones decides to travel to Moscow in an attempt to get an interview with Stalin himself. There he meets Ada Brooks (Vanessa Kirby), a British journalist working in Moscow, who reveals that the truth behind the regime is being violently repressed. Hearing murmurs of government-induced famine, a secret carefully guarded by the Soviet censors, Jones manages to elude the authorities and travels clandestinely to Ukraine, where he witnesses the atrocities of man-made starvation as all grain is sold abroad to finance the industrialising Soviet empire.
Back in London Jones publishes an article revealing the horrors he witnessed but the starvation is denied by Western journalists reporting from Moscow, including the The New York Times reporter and Pulitzer Prize winner Walter Duranty (Peter Sarsgaard). As death threats mount, Jones has to fight for the truth. Meeting a young author by the name of George Orwell, Jones shares his findings… helping inspire the great allegorical novel Animal Farm.
Mr Jones premiered in competition at the 2019 Berlin International Film Festival.
Agnieszka Holland’s Mr Jones is a bold and heartfelt movie with a real Lean-ian sweep. James Norton brings his A-game to this film, giving a muscular, sympathetic performance as Jones, the idealist intellectual and man of action from Barry in Wales. It’s a picture with sinew and strength.— Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
With a cast impressively headed by James Norton, and cinematography that captures the bleakness of winter and deprivation to grimly palatable effect, Holland’s drama comes across in part as a meticulously mounted, sometimes solemn history lesson. — Jonathan Romney, Screen Daily
One of Poland's most eminent filmmakers, winner of most prestigious film awards, including the Golden Globe and the Silver Bear, Academy Award nominee for three of her films In Darkness, Europa Europa and Angry Harvest, as well as BAFTA and an Emmy nominee.
Agnieszka Holland started her film career assisting Andrzej Wajda as her mentor and Krzysztof Zanussi. Her first feature film was Provincial Actors (1978), one of the flagship pictures of the "cinema of moral disquiet" and the winner of the International Critics Prize at the Cannes Film Festival.
In 1981, after the Polish communist government declared martial law, Holland emigrated to France. She collaborated with her friend, Krzysztof Kieślowski, on the screenplay of his trilogy, Three Colours (1993).
Her works were produced in Poland, Germany, France, Great Britain, Czech Republic and the USA. Many of them received prestigious awards and nominations, among them: Golden Globe Award, Golden Lion Award, BAFTA, Emmy and others. Three of Agnieszka Holland’s films were nominated to the Oscar Academy Award (Best Foreign Language category): In Darkness (2012), Europa Europa (1990) and Angry Harvest (1985). She directed over 30 feature and TV films including: To Kill a Priest, Olivier Olivier, The Secret Garden, Total Eclipse, Washington Square, Third Miracle, Shot in the Heart, Copying Beethoven.
She formatted and directed several episodes of some of the most popular TV series both in the US (such as "The Wire", "Treme", "The Killing", "House of Cards") and in Poland ("Prime Minister"), also directed drama miniseries "Burning Bush", "Rosemary’s Baby".
Agnieszka Holland is a Chairwoman of European Film Academy (EFA).
AWARDS AND ACCOLADES
NOMINATED: Golden Berlin Bear for Best Film, Berlin International Film Festival I 2019