Agnieszka Holland | “Europe could suffer an outbreak of unimaginable violence.”

Agnieszka Holland |  “Europe could suffer an outbreak of unimaginable violence.”

Agnieszka Holland: “Europe could suffer an outbreak of unimaginable violence”

To retaliate for the sanctions just imposed by the European Union Belarus In response to 2020 election fraud and human rights violations, and with the support of his Russian partner, President Vladimir Putin. Alexander Lukaiksenko Summer 2021 has begun with funding and organization Illegal entry into the European Union of migrants from Africa and the Middle East, Mainly across the border his country shares with Poland. Most of these people are detained by Polish border guards and returned to Belarus. Throughout this process they suffer from hunger, fatigue and torture. As far as we know, 60 people have died and more than 200 others have gone missing in the forest that separates the two countries since then. Veteran director Agnieszka HollandShe is best known for her political commitment and cinematic approach to atrocities such as the Holocaust – in titles such as Europe, Europe (1990) and Into the Dark (2011) – and the Great Ukrainian Famine – in The Master. . Jones (2019) – reflects on this tragedy from different perspectives in the film now premiering in Spain, “Green border.”“, which obtained eSpecial Jury Prize at the recent Venice Film Festival.

When did you decide to depict the refugee situation on the border between Poland and Belarus through film?

Soon after what Lukashenko was orchestrating became public. In the midst of the crisis, my government decided to create an exclusion zone to prevent activists, media professionals, medical workers and humanitarian organizations from going there. They did not want to know what was going on, and this required preventing refugees from receiving assistance. At the same time, they began a campaign to instill fear in Polish citizens by demonizing refugees; They accused them of being pedophiles, animal lovers, rapists, and terrorists… They highlighted false images of Arab men having sex with cows… These two facts convinced me that I had to act.

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Before the Green Border was paraded in Venice, she was repeatedly insulted and defamed by the Polish government led by the ultraconservative Jarosław Kaczyński. The then Minister of Justice described the film as “Nazi propaganda.” How do you remember that?

I already knew they would retaliate against me, but I didn’t expect such a strong reaction. She has been compared to Goebbels and Hitler, but also to Putin and Stalin. They said all sorts of terrible things, and when I took the minister to court, he said he would not abide by the judge’s ruling. Minister of Justice! I’d never heard anything like that before, and I spent time in prison during Communism. Because, unlike then, nowadays there are social networks, and this means that I have received many death threats; I even had to hire two bodyguards. The upside of all this is that it helped popularize the film. 800,000 people came to watch it in Poland alone.

Last October, Kaczynski’s party lost the Polish government to the liberal coalition led by Donald Tusk. What role do you think your film played in the outcome of the election?

I think it contributed to that, yes. We released the film just in time to clash with the ultra-conservative government’s plans to use fear of refugees as a battle horse, and the truth is that the film touched a lot of people, providing them with something resembling emotional catharsis. In any case, what little hope the change of government gave me then has now completely disappeared. . Recently, Tusk decided to adopt the same position towards refugees as his predecessor. The same secrecy, the same hate speech, the same violence inflicted on the innocent and defenseless. There is no other solution.

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Of course, we are not talking about an exclusively Polish problem…

No, of course. The European Union is completely ineffective and indifferent to the migration crisis, and it does not matter if we are talking about the border between Poland and Belarus or the Mediterranean. We have created a climate catastrophe so severe that entire areas of the Earth have become uninhabitable, and under the pretext of overthrowing tyrants, we have destroyed the Middle East and caused the collapse of these countries, and the flight of their populations. Now we are surprised that there are refugees, and we do not want them. History shows that no country is immune from accepting an ideology that appeals to basic instincts, whatever the arguments. If a country’s authorities permit, encourage or order the stigmatization, dehumanization and destruction of a minority, there will always be people willing to act on it.

What do you think about the rise of the far right, which was reflected in the recent elections to the European Parliament?

This was to be expected; Ultimately, it is a logical continuation of the rise witnessed at the national level in countries such as the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, France, and even throughout Europe. European people fear losing their comforts and losing their identity, and populists offer them easy solutions to this. Of course, it’s built on lies, but people are willing to believe it if it makes them feel safe and secure.

The green border contains images that draw parallels between refugees from Africa and the Middle East and Jews during the Holocaust. Are they intentional on their part?

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definitely. When I made my films about the Holocaust, I did so not just to honor the victims or remember what happened, but to warn that such barbarism could happen again.

What does Europe need?

A more rational and humane immigration policy. But I’m pessimistic about that. Limiting the entry of refugees will not work, and oppression and cruelty will continue to increase. If we do not take urgent action, Europe may suffer unimaginable outbreaks of violence. We will place machine guns on the borders and shoot anyone who approaches them, and we will bomb ships in the Mediterranean.

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