Elina Löwensohn

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Elina Löwensohn
Before she knew it, she had become an important icon of Hal Hartley's films, and, of course, of Hartley's fans. She made her debut in his short film Theory of Achievement (1991), and then --despite the strange, cold, unfriendly, unsociable, absurd world-- persisted in three more films, including Simple Men (1992), Amateur (1994), and Flirt (1995). In the latter her role was only episodic, fleeting like flirtation - a sign that for a while they will go their separate ways. She was, however, destined to continue doing small, independent, Hartley-like films. Her most striking role came with the black&white film Nadja (1994), in which she played a chic vampire, circling the New York club scene and, at the age of 200, still making small talk like a teenager. It's no surprise that she ended up in the role of a vampire; since she is of Romanian origin. She was born in 1967 in Bucharest, and, in the early 80s, was taken to America to be "scenically" educated in Michigan and New York by her parents, a ballerina and a Ceausescu bureaucrat. She appeared in many independent films, TV films, Jerry Seinfeld's sitcom, music videos, on stage, while Steven Spielberg cast her for Schindler's List (1993). A professional killer (Six Ways to Sunday, 1998), a serial killer (Sombre, 1998), and a vampire (The Wisdom of Crocodiles, 1998), who could not overlook her reserved beauty, her distanced glamour and her delicate hesitation, all fell for her.

Other films include: Another Girl Another Planet (1992), My Antonia (1995, TV), In the Presence of Mine Enemies (1996, TV), Pictures of Baby Jane Doe (1996), Le silence de Rak (1996), I'm not Rappaport (1996), Basquiat (1996), La fiancée (1997), Mauvais genre (1997), Pourquoi se marier le jour de la fin du monde? (1999).
Marcel Štefančič, Jr.

I met Elina for the first and only time in Cannes in 1994. An already arranged interview with Hartley fell through, because I couldn't get in, thus missing the screening of Amateur. The agent suggested that I should talk to Elina, since it's easier to do an interview with an actress if you haven't seen the film. And so I did. I met Elina... and for the first time I felt that I was talking to a normal person from the film industry. To be in Cannes means that you're a star, unless you're an ordinary passer-by, or so I thought… until Elina corrected me by pointing out that this is not the case with her. She admitted that after doing a few films with Hartley and a small, but noticeable role in Schindler's List, people did recognise her and stop her in the street, and added that all of them got the wrong impression. "All of them say, 'Look, it's Elina, she made it' , but I know better. If I don't get a role some time soon, I'll be forced to find a job as a waitress again." That's Elina on the "glamour" of an independent film actress. On the one hand she isn't interested in Hollywood glamour, but on the other she is right away marked by her Romanian accent, and accordingly stuck with exotic roles.I heard that she'll perform at the City of Women. I don't know what she is like live on stage, nor what role she is given. What I do know is that Hartley noticed her on stage and that her experience helped her do the choreography for the famous and a little bizarre dance sequence on the piece Cool Thing in Simple Men, my favourite Hartley scene. The girl obviously rules the stage.
Simon Popek