The film “The Green Border” by Agnieszka Holland from the Venice festival returned with an award. He got a standing ovation and the world noticed him. It raises an important and difficult topic, but the PiS government is bothered by it. The new film by the renowned director is criticized by members of the government and the president. Although at the same time they admit that they have not seen it.
– A film that is honest, that is complicated, that is human, that is about people and for people and that asks us very difficult questions – says director Agnieszka Holland about her latest film “The Green Border” and invites you to cinemas.
The behavior of politicians in power also raises very difficult questions. Even though some people openly admit that they have not seen the film, one after another press conferences are organized, during which politicians say a lot and very bad things about Agnieszka Holland’s “The Green Border”. – We are dealing with an industry of contempt – says Jarosław Kaczyński, president of Law and Justice. – The Polish uniform is being slandered – says Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.
Minister of Justice Zbigniew Ziobro compared Holland’s latest film to “propaganda of Nazi Germany”, and President Andrzej Duda also spoke negatively about the film. – The fact that Mrs. Holland shows Polish officers performing tasks for Polish society, for the safety of all of us, shows them in this way, I am not surprised that the Border Guard officers who saw this film used this slogan known to us from the Nazi occupation, when Nazi propaganda films were shown in our cinemas: “only pigs sit in the cinema” – said the president on TVP Info.
He referred in this way to the statement published by the Branch Board of the Independent Self-Governing Trade Union of Border Guard Officers at the Nadwiślański Branch of the Border Guard. “The trade unionists from the Nadwiślański Border Guard Unit deeply sympathize with the Soldiers and Officers serving in the protection of the state border. We send our heartfelt support to our colleagues in the East, and we have one thing to say to the initiators and producers of the film “The Green Border”: ONLY PIGS ARE SITTING IN CINEMA,” the statement read.
State television also supports the government in its criticism.
The opposition throws up its hands. – The president, prime minister and ministers reviewed a film they had not seen, emphasizes Donald Tusk, leader of the Civic Platform. – How can the President of the Republic of Poland suggest that Poles are pigs? – asks Szymon Hołownia, leader of Poland 2050.
Power versus artists
Holland’s film tells the story of foreigners trying to get across the green border from Belarus to Poland – about their drama, the actions of the Polish services and the actions of the Belarusian services that organized Operation “Sluice”. – Systemically, the state turns its back on these people and that is the most difficult thing about it – says Maja Ostaszewska, who plays one of the main roles.
Agnieszka Holland estimates that the outrage of politicians in power over her film is also related to the election campaign. – Everything is political gold for these people. This is absolute cynicism and hypocrisy. But on the other hand, I think they were angry that the plan to have only one image of this situation (on the border – editor’s note) didn’t work out – says the director.
The government wants to broadcast a special film clip in cinemas, the content of which is consistent with the government’s daily propaganda and ends with the slogan “Safe Poland”, which is similar to the PiS election slogan “A safe future for Poles”.
This may suggest that politicians’ outrage is fake, and PiS is simply looking for a new thread and fuel in the election campaign.
The director of the film “Green Border” reminds that PiS politicians took similar actions with the film “Ida” when they took over public television. This may bode well for “The Green Border”, because Paweł Pawlikowski’s film – allegedly distorting the image of Poland – won an Oscar.
It was similar with Olga Tokarczuk, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for her work – Minister Piotr Gliński mocked her books.
PiS doesn’t know anything about art, but it interferes with it, says the opposition. And he gives examples: the PiS voivode suspended the director of the Dramatic Theater in Warsaw, and the Słowacki Theater is fighting for independence after Mickiewicz’s “Forefathers’ Eve” in an adaptation that the authorities did not like. – What I remember is 1968 and Gomułka – says Agnieszka Holland.
Main photo source: PAP/Radek Pietruszka