Poland: row over film award for Agnieszka Holland

The drama Zielona granica (The Green Border) by Polish director Agnieszka Holland about refugees on the border between Belarus and Poland has won the Special Jury Prize at the Venice International Film Festival - much to the displeasure of the government in Poland. Commenting on the online platform X, Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro compared the film with anti-Polish Nazi propaganda. Now the director wants to sue him for defamation.

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Gazeta Wyborcza (PL) /

A film that will make history

Gazeta Wyborcza sees Holland's film as a sign of the times:

“That the Special Jury Prize in Venice went to Agnieszka Holland's film The Green Border demonstrates the powerlessness of the government camp. Not only the regime's henchmen are participating in the hate campaign against this outstanding Polish director; high-ranking politicians are also personally involved. They slander, insult and spit on the author, and the entire patriotic Polish intelligentsia along with her. But to no avail. Holland's film will triumph. It has already become a sign of the times, like [the banned production of the play] Forefathers' Eve by [Kazimierz] Dejmek in 1968. Young people will one day read about this film in school textbooks.”

wPolityce.pl (PL) /

Director playing the victim

The pro-government news website wPolityce says Agnieszka Holland's commitment on this issue is fake:

“Posing as the persecuted artist is very effective. The PR slogan 'artist suppressed by the regime' opens the doors to all the salons of 'progressive' circles. Especially if the work carries an anti-Polish narrative. Agnieszka Holland knows this only too well. Because this isn't the first time she's promoted herself in this way. But why does she react so poorly to criticism? Since freedom of speech allows her to call border guards criminals, why would she want to sue the Minister of Justice for a few harsh words about her?”

Český rozhlas (CZ) /

A country with a chip on its shoulder

Český rozhlas would like to see more tolerance on the part of the PiS government in Warsaw:

“The controversy over the film reflects the contradictory nature of today's Poland. A country that is still democratic but which has many internal problems. The problems mainly result from the fiercely nationalist policies of the ruling group. Poland's current rulers hate criticism, they have no intention of even abiding by the rule of law and democracy, never mind tolerating independent public media. ... A country in which such things happen is not healthy. Poland's commendable efforts in helping Ukraine cannot hide that.”