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Set in Poland during the Occupation, the eponymous Joanna (Urszula Grabowska) is a well-educated Warsaw resident forced by the wartime economy to take on menial jobs to make ends meet while hoping for news on a husband missing since his conscription into the army.

Her world is further up-ended when seven year old Roza (Sara Knothe) and her mother enter the café in which she is waiting tables. German soldiers raid the café rounding up Jews and arrest Roza’s mother while the little girl takes shelter in a church across the street. Childless Joanna covertly takes Roza into her care without anyone’s knowledge, and sets about reuniting mother and child.

Through skilful and very personal storytelling, Joanna highlights the struggle for survival of both the Jewish people and native Poles during the German Occupation, pointedly examining our fight, as human beings, to stay alive in times of extreme desperation and fear.

“… earnest, well-acted” Variety

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    Feliks Falks

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