- Hans Weber
- December 7, 2023
Czech Film Academy Supports Director Agnieszka Holland Amidst Controversy Surrounding “The Green Border”
Prague, Czech Republic – [Date] – The Czech Film and Television Academy (CFTA) has extended its unwavering support to acclaimed Polish director Agnieszka Holland amidst vehement criticism and personal threats stemming from her latest film, “The Green Border.” The movie, which received accolades at this year’s Venice Film Festival, delves into the harrowing plight of refugees at the Polish-Belarusian border. Co-produced by a Czech production company and Czech Television, with financial support from the Czech Film Fund, the film has come under fire from members of Poland’s nationalist government.
Polish Justice Minister and Prosecutor General Zbigniew Ziobro had previously launched a strong attack on the film, equating it to “Nazi propaganda.” Polish President Andrzej Duda, while in New York, disparaged the film, invoking the slogan “Only pigs sit in cinemas.” Even Jaroslaw Kaczynski, Vice Prime Minister and leader of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, criticized the film, claiming it was preparing grounds for undermining the border fence and the redistribution of migrants in the European Union.
In response to these attacks, Agnieszka Holland likened them to McCarthyism and the Stalinist era. She clarified that her film does not make a sweeping judgment about police or border guards but instead explores how individuals can react differently in the same circumstances.
The Czech Film and Television Academy (CFTA) has expressed its solidarity with Agnieszka Holland, lauding her decades-long dedication to using film as a medium to combat hatred, unearth societal issues, and champion humanism, empathy, and freedom. The CFTA emphasized that cinema plays a crucial role in addressing social issues, often in a critical and challenging manner. It strongly condemned the campaign of disparagement and insults against Agnieszka Holland, considering it an affront to free artistic expression, a cornerstone of European culture, and a means of fostering social dialogue.
“The Green Border” tells the story of psychologist Julia, who becomes an inadvertent witness and participant in dramatic events at the Polish-Belarusian border. She relinquishes her comfortable life to join a group of activists aiding refugees. Her journey becomes intertwined with a Syrian family fleeing civil war, an Afghan female teacher, and a young border guard, as they are forcibly taken to a refugee camp near the Polish border.
Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky commended the Czech filmmakers who have come to Agnieszka Holland’s defense. He emphasized the importance of artists expressing their opinions within the framework of existing laws and underscored that the film does not violate any regulations. Minister Lipavsky also called for criticism to be expressed in a constructive and respectful manner.
Amidst the controversy, the international film community stands united in its support of Agnieszka Holland’s creative freedom and her efforts to shed light on pressing humanitarian issues through the medium of cinema.
Article by Prague Forum
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- Hans Weber
- December 7, 2023