Małgorzata Zajaczkowska – also known as Margaret Sophie Stein – is a famous Polish actress and writer. Her acting career started in 1977 at the National Theater in Warsaw. Shortly afterwards, she debuted on the big screen acting in Zdjecia Próbne (Screen Tests, 1977), directed by Agnieszka Holland. After graduating from the State Higher School of Theatre (PWST) in Warsaw, her career took off: while continuing to work at the National Theater, she acted in other successful films, such as Bez miłs´ci (Without Love, 1980) by Barbara Sass, Constans (The Constant Factor, 1980 – which won the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival) and From a Distant Country (1981), both by Krzysztof Zanussi; she acted also in Dziecinne pytania (Childish Questions, 1981) by Janusz Zaorski, Danton (1982) by Andrzej Wajda and in the French movie Balles perdues (1982) by Jean-Louis Comolli.
She won a scholarship from New York University and moved to the United States, where she adopted her pseudonym Margaret Sophie Stein. Here she continued to play different roles, some of them for the TV, as in the film Sarah, Plain and Tall (1991) directed by Glenn Jordan and Christopher Walken. In films for the cinema her name is linked – among others – to those of Ron Silver, Angelica Huston and Lena Olin in the cast of Enemies, A Love Story (1989) by Paul Mazursky, and to other important international films, in particular Bullets Over Broadway (1994) by Woody Allen. After her last American role in Simply Irresistible (1999) by Mark Tarlov, Małgorzata Zajaczkowska returned to Poland, where her TV and cinema careercontinued non-stop. In 2003, she is Renata in Pogoda na jutro (Tomorrow’s Weather) by Jerzy Stuhr; in 2009 she played the role as the protagonist’s mother in Jánošík – Pravdivá história (Janosik. A true story) directed by Agnieszka Holland and Kasia Adamik, and the role as Grazyna in Rewizyta (Revisited, 2009) by Krzysztof Zanussi. She then worked once again with Andrzej Wajda in the film Wałesa. Człowiek z nadzie (Walesa – Man of hope, 2013). Among her many intense participations in several TV productions, we may just mention the crucial role she played in the TV movie Zólty szalik (Yellow scarf, 2000) directed by Janusz “Kuba” Morgenstern. Among her latest roles, she acted as Sister Benedicta in Zacma (Blindness), directed by Ryszard Bugajski in 2016, which was presented in the same year at the Contemporary World Cinema programme during the Toronto International Film Festival. Her eclectic and dramatically intense acting makes her one of the most important and well-known actresses not only in Poland but on the international scene as well.
Incessant creative producer (in some interviews, she stated that she e had always wished to become an artist) in 2002 Małgorzata Zajaczkowska started to work also as a writer and as a lecturer at the Warsaw Film School. In this year’s edition of the Ca’ Foscari Short Film Festival, she features in an intense film, Portret z pamieci (Drawn from memory, 2012), directed by Marcin Bortkiewicz – presented also at the Cannes Film Festival in the section Directors’ Fortnight (Quinzaine des Réalisateurs). For the same director, she acted also in the multi-awarded film Noc Walpurgi (Walpurgius Night, 2015).