West News Wire: As a new feature film by filmmaker Agnieszka Holland made its world debut in Poland on Friday, right-wing Polish authorities condemned it, accusing it of defaming their nation by focusing on a migration crisis near the Belarusian border.
Earlier this month, “Green Border” took home the Special Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival. Polish government representatives have been aggressively criticising the movie for weeks, despite the fact that the majority of them admit they haven’t seen it.
Polish security personnel who abuse Middle Eastern migrant workers are depicted in the film as fictional characters. The film is a heartbreaking investigation of human misery in the border region of woodlands and wetlands between Belarus and Poland.
Holland was born in Poland, where he also worked on films, although he currently resides in France.
In an unusual move, Poland’s most powerful politician, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, called a news conference Friday to denounce the film. He said he believed that Poland’s border guards, army and police “were portrayed shamefully.”
According to Polish officials, security forces have put their lives in danger to defend Poland from a migrant influx that they believe was sponsored by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko. Kaczynski asserted that Holland was aiding Putin’s purported scheme.
In addition, he accused Holland of having “oikophobia,” the dislike of one’s own country, and he described the movie as “simply shameful, repulsive, and disgusting.”
Holland claims that the movie makes no general judgements about the Polish military or uniformed forces and that it is not meant to malign Poland.
In a statement released on Friday, she and producer Marcin Wierzchoslawski claimed that “Green Border” demonstrated how people of all backgrounds, including uniformed officers, refugees, and aid workers, can act differently depending on the circumstances. They said it avoids “black and white propaganda” that surrounds migration.
Holland and Wierzchoslawski also said that fragments of the film were stolen, altered and broadcast by some media to create a distorted impression of the film, and that they objected to the manipulation.
The national elections in Poland are set for October 15. By emphasising its anti-immigration measures, Kaczynski’s ruling Law and Justice party hopes to secure a third term in office. With a fraud case apparently involving visas issued at Polish consulates in Asia and Africa in exchange for kickbacks, the government’s image for keeping immigrants out of the country took a knock.
The Syrian family, the Polish border guard, and the Polish activists trying to aid the migrants are the main subjects of the movie.
Along with other organisations from the film business, the Directors Guild of America openly defended Holland on Thursday, stating that it “champions creative expression through the art of filmmaking and decries the recent attacks” against her.