Polish film slanders Polish border guards for doing their job

Director Agnieszka Holland poses for photographers upon arrival for the premiere of the film "Green Border" during the 80th edition of the Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy, on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2023. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)
By Grzegorz Adamczyk
3 Min Read

The Polish film director, Agnieszka Holland, who has just taken her new film “Green Border” to the Venice Film Festival, is good at playing the role of persecuted artist because it opens doors at all progressive salons. The anti-Polish message of her film helps too.

At the same time, she objects to anyone taking issue with her or her work. While being prepared to accuse Polish border guards of being criminals, she threatens to sue Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro for his criticism of her. 

Her film was controversial right from the outset. This is because its message fits into the Russian narrative by attacking Poland for defending its borders and the inhabitants of the border areas for supposed racism. The film has been made at a time when the international community has recognized that Belarus has deliberately weaponized migrants in order to weaken Europe and cause chaos for the benefit of Russia. 

Russia’s efforts are a provocation that was meant to spark a reaction inside Poland, and Agnieszka Holland has taken the bait. She should not be surprised by the criticism she has now attracted in Poland. 

She has never hidden her hostility towards the right and the present government. She has compared migrants coming into Poland with the plight of the Jews during the Second World War and called border guards “criminals in uniform.” Repeatedly, she has asserted that there is no freedom in Poland. The picture she paints of Poles in her film is one of cowardly informers and people whose xenophobia is essentially a form of paranoia. 

This is why there is outrage at the way she is manipulating what Lukashenko’s operation is about. Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro compared her film to the Third Reich’s propaganda films, which portrayed Poles as murderers and criminals. 

That in turn offended Holland who, despite stripping border guards of their dignity with her film, took Ziobro’s words as slander and demanded an apology and over €10,000 to be paid to charity. 

Her tales of artists being persecuted in Poland are becoming tiresome. There is no persecution of artists in Poland. They are free to say what they like and use that freedom extensively. Criticism of Holland’s film is simply a statement of protest against lies and manipulation.

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