Polish Deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski held a news conference on Friday to denounce Polish filmmaker Agnieszka Holland’s latest film, ‘The Green Border’ (‘Zielonca Granca’). Kaczynski claimed that the film supports a supposed Russian plot to flood Poland with migrants. He accused Holland of acting in support of an alleged Russian and Belarusian conspiracy to overwhelm Poland with migrants and criticized her portrayal of Polish border guards, police, and military in the film.
Kaczynski’s comments came as Polish officials expressed concerns about a migrant influx at the border, which they believe was initiated by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko in collaboration with Russian President Vladimir Putin to destabilize Poland. The ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) in Poland is struggling to maintain its anti-immigration image following an alleged visas-for-cash scandal at Polish consulates in Asia and Africa.
Kaczynski’s denouncement of ‘The Green Border’ is not the first. Last week, Polish Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro likened the film to “Nazi propaganda,” leading to threats of a lawsuit from Holland. The Federation of European Screen Directors has backed Holland, praising her “strength and courage” in the face of attacks in Poland and rejecting Ziobro’s comments as “slanderous and unfounded.”
The European Film Academy also expressed shock at the “personal hostility and threats” towards Holland, noting that she is the granddaughter of Holocaust victims. Holland herself has stated that the film makes no judgment about the Polish military or border guards and avoids “black and white propaganda.” She has criticized the media for using certain scenes out of context to provoke audiences.
This incident is part of a growing trend of filmmakers being accused by Russophobic politicians of supporting Putin. Danish director Lars von Trier was attacked in the press for a social media post stating “Russian lives matter also,” while the Berlin Film Festival and Cannes Film Festival banned entries that received funding from the Russian government last year.
The controversy surrounding ‘The Green Border’ highlights the ongoing tensions and political divisions in Poland over immigration issues. The film, whether intentional or not, has become a focal point for these debates and has drawn strong criticism from government officials. Holland continues to defend her work and assert that it does not promote any particular agenda, but rather reflects the complexities and nuances of the current migrant crisis.