Family & Companions
With an exotic, dark appearance and an Eastern European mystery, Elina Lowensohn, a rising actress in mostly independent films, is a performer considered to have the kind of expressive looks that would have played well in silent movies. Filmgoers will long remember her performance as a Jewish architect shot by Ralph Fiennes simply because she knows how to construct a building's foundation in Steven Spielberg's "Schindler's List" (1993). Lowensohn's own background included both concentration camp victims and survivors. Her grandparents died in the cattle cars on the way to camps, while her father survived them. He went on to become minister of housing in the Romanian Communist government until purged because he was a Jew; he died in 1973 when Lowensohn was seven. Her mother, a ballet dancer and teacher, left Lowensohn and her younger brother in Romania while she traveled to South America to work, before settling in Washington, DC, where she obtained a green card and staged a year-long protest (including a hunger strike) until the US State Department allowed her children to emigrate to the US. The family settled in upstate New York.
After studying at New York University, Lowensohn began an association with stage director Travis Preston. She appeared in his productions of "Hamlet" (as Ophelia), "Last American in Paris," "The Ghost Sonata," "Twelfth Night" and "Roberto Zuccho." Film director Hal Hartley, a college classmate of Preston's, hired Lowensohn for his short film "Theory of Achievement" in 1991. Their association, which Lowensohn has described as "an artistic connection," has included "Simple Men" (1992), in which she was an epileptic anarchist, "Amateur" (1994), in which she plays a once notorious porn star, and "Flirt" (scheduled for release in 1996), in which she plays a nurse in a segment set in Berlin. Lowensohn has also established a working relationship with director Michael Almereyda. She was featured in his hour-long "Another Girl, Another Planet" (1992), which was shot in Pixelvision, and played the eponymous heroine of "Nadja" (1994), a femme fatale vampire loose in NYC. Lowensohn appears in Julian Schnabel's biopic of the artist "Basquiat" and plays a supporting role in Herb Gardner's "I'm Not Rappaport" (both 1996).
In a memorable 1994 episode of the NBC sitcom "Seinfeld," Lowensohn appeared as a Romanian gymnast. Her first significant TV-movie was "My Antonia," (USA), based on the Willa Cather novel, in which she plays a Bohemian immigrant teenager who brings spirit back into Neil Patrick Harris' sullen life.
Cast (Feature Film)
Misc. Crew (Feature Film)
Came to US after her mother staged protests at the US State Department in effort to have Lowensohn and her brother be released from Romania
Film debut, Hal Hartley's short "Theory of Achievement"
First feature role in Hartley's "Amateur"
First colloboration with Michael Almeryda, "Another Girl, Another Planet"
Co-starred in "Schindler's List"
Played title role in Almeryda's "Nadja"
TV acting debut as a Romanian gymnast in an episode of "Seinfeld" (NBC)
TV-movie debut in title role of "My Antonia" (USA)