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Gdynia Film Festival 2021. Agnieszka Holland about the state of emergency and the situation on the border

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The 46th Polish Film Festival in Gdynia has come to an end. Platinum Lions, i.e. the Lifetime Achievement Award, was received by director and screenwriter Agnieszka Holland, president of the European Film Academy. – No democratic state can allow innocent people, defenseless people to die on its borders – said the laureate.

On Saturday evening at the Musical Theater in Gdynia, the awards gala of the 46th Polish Film Festival in Gdynia was held. The most important prize of the evening – Golden Lions – received the authors of the film “All our fears” directed by Łukasz Ronduda and Łukasz Gutt. The plot is about real events and was inspired by the life of Dr. Daniel Rycharski, visual artist and graphic artist.


Agnieszka Holland awarded in Gdynia. What did she tell Zanussi?

The Lifetime Achievement Award – Platinum Lions was received by director Agnieszka Holland from Krzysztof Zanussi and Jacek Bromski. – From my own experience I will say: do not worry about these lions. You have been a classic for a long time, and the future is ahead of you – Zanussi joked.

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After a few minutes of standing ovation, the current president of the European Film Academy admitted that she was glad that the statuette was presented to her by Zanussi, who was one of its first bosses. She thanked him for his patience because – as she pointed out – she was an assistant who seemed to be able to do everything better.

Holland: It is outrageous that I am the first woman with Platinum Lions

She referred to the fact that she was the first director to be recognized with Platinum Lions. – It’s quite outrageous (…). This speaks of how the role of women in our society was perceived. However, I know that I am not the last. We are followed by a wave of brave women who are confident in their voices – she said.


The laureate noticed that her film output includes many films in which she reached for the past and which spoke about “difficult, tragic and terrible times”. – They talked about a difficult history, a time of contempt, cruelty and hatred. They talked about regimes that divide people into better and worse, those who have the right to life and privileges, and those who are subhuman and are doomed to death and suffering. They talked about politicians who manipulate public opinion to maintain power. They talked about politicians who are opportunistic, about corrupt media, about indifference of societies – reminded the filmmaker.

– They talked about it not because I wanted to recall a story that had ended, do justice to the victims of that time and reflect, illuminate their fate in a way. But because I was aware that this time … it did not end, he only fell asleep and could come back at any moment if we are not careful enough – she assessed.

Holland: the past is happening now

– When I was making these films, I had to recreate this whole macabre theater: corpses in the streets, people dying of hunger, people hiding in the woods like rotten animals. Rape, fear, despair, suffering. And it is difficult for me to enjoy our holiday today if I realize that something like this is happening very close to us, in our country, on our borders. That people die there, whose main sin is that they are different, that they want to live safely and that they are ready to risk a lot. I cannot help but think that it is happening, as it were, with our consent, our indifference, our fear, our helplessness, we agree to it – confessed the president European Film Academy.

Agnieszka Holland with Platinum LionsPAP / Adam Warżawa

– I do not agree to change, to cast Polish border guards as guards of the Berlin Wall from the former East Germany. I do not accept that the local people play the role of informers and that they call the police before giving bread to the hungry. This weighs on us all terribly as a community. If we put up with it now, that’s what he was talking about Marian Turski in his speech in Oświęcim is inevitable. The past is happening now, it seems to me, it is not over. The absurd state of emergency to which we agree seems to have been introduced so that there are no traces. Polish cinema has always been bold, people have been at its center. Looking at this year’s films, I know that it is so. And I hope it will be so: that humanity will be the most important thing for us – summed up Agnieszka Holland.


Main photo source: PAP / Adam Warżawa

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