Agnieszka Holland (Varsovia, 1948) She has spent her entire life obsessed with Europe, in the best and most universal sense. And in the most tragic and most liberating as well. Her parents suffered the very bitter consequences of fighting the Stalinist regime and she was almost stoned for daring in the superb film ‘Europe, Europe‘ (1991) to imagine the existence of a Holocaust survivor as if it were an emulation of Voltaire’s Candide. The mere idea of ironizing the greatest of tragedies turned the initial blisters into simple raw flesh. Now, she has done it again. ‘Green Border’, winner of the Special Jury Prize in Venice, she exposes the brutal actions of her country (and by contagion of all of Europe) with the emigrants converted into pawns in a geostrategic game.
We are on the border between Poland and Belarus. Syrians and Afghans go there attracted by the propaganda of Alexander Lukashenko which promises safe passage to Europe. When they arrive, they will soon realize that they are just merchandise. The army on one side facilitates their passage to the other so that the police of the supposed host country immediately return them to the starting point. And so over and over again.
Everything narrated, the director insists, is the reflection of a real testimony. Jaroslaw Kaczynski, president of the ultra-conservative Law and Justice party (PiS), described the film as “unpatriotic” and added the adjectives “shameful and repulsive.” The then Polish Minister of Justice Zbigniew Ziobro, one step further, compared it to “Nazi propaganda.” And the government devised some advertisements “with the official version” to be shown before each session. As a result of all this, Agnieszka Holland was forced to hire security due to the avalanche of death threats. Now, the film is a success in Poland and the opposition has won the elections. “I’ll settle for the truth reaching a couple of people,” says Holland, lounging on a sofa in a central Valladolid hotel. The Seminci began on Saturday with a clearly happy director.