“Green Border”, a journey to the limits of humanity

The fact that Green border was released during Sanremo week in Italy, a day after one of the most embarrassing moments in the history of public broadcasting. It's a sign of the times, proof that ultimately no one cares about human misery, the real, tragic ones. One more reason why the cinemas (approximately 90 cinemas in the region, from north to south, distributed by Movies Inspired) showing Agnieszka Holland's film should be occupied in any order to restore the balance of power. Presented last September at the Venice Film Festival, where it won the Special Jury Prize (an acclaim that also hits a little too close to home), Green border tells of a real and everyday horror, namely the inhumane conditions with which refugees are treated trying to enter Europe, a necessary passage to then reach other shores across the border that separates Belarus and Poland.

Men, women and children treated like cannon fodder, stuck in no man's land and chased around in an endless game by the border police of the two countries. A sometimes untenable story tells of Holland, a Polish director who began her career as an assistant to Zanussi and Wajda, two monuments of Polish cinema, and then made films that won awards at festivals around the world for forty years (including for the Oscar nominated). for Europe Europe), at the age of 75, he made a film with a very modern style and structure, but above all politically devastating, a very powerful denunciation of Europe's responsibility to a situation that is getting dramatically worse day by day and that will soon, very soon, become unmanageable and trigger further bloody conflicts. While we're still thinking about it I'm dancing here here by John Travolta.

Green border It is one of those films that should be discussed long and seriously, because it fulfills one of the basic functions of art, not just film art in general, namely that of an artistic gesture as a political action, an aspect that obviously existed in a world where the concept of militancy is forgotten or, even worse, misrepresented to engage in sterile polemics that, in most cases, aim to divert attention from the things that really matter. And all of this at a time when the whole world is a powder keg and after just a month the presentation of Green border The bloody and terrible crisis between Israel and Palestine broke out in Venice, which made the events recounted in the film even more relevant. The conversation with Agnieszka Holland in Venice was an insightful moment of discussion from a political, artistic and human perspective.

Ms. Holland, to think that things like what you are talking about Green border What happens in 2023 seems unrealistic. Yet it is all tragically true.
I believe that Europe has lived for sixty, seventy years under the illusion that the concepts of freedom, fraternity and equality were real, and at the same time there was the Holocaust vaccine and the promulgation of laws and the creation of organizations like the European Community , which in some ways should have prevented and repelled new totalitarian and fascist regimes. Unfortunately, the effect of the vaccine is over and we are once again exposed and at the mercy of cruel crimes against humanity. We know what happened, we know it could happen again, but we have the opportunity to avoid it by giving a voice to those who have none and, when it is not possible, to speak on their behalf.

Photo: Movies Inspired

When you talk about the European Union, you are very critical of the hypocritical policies on the migrant and refugee issue.
Because it is not a political position, they simply turn a blind eye, just as Austria hid its head in the sand at the time of the Nazi uprising. What really worries them at the moment is the emergence of new nationalist and populist movements and right-wing and far-right parties for which refugees are a fuse because people are afraid of them and it represents a serious problem, especially since 2014 from the start of the war in Syria. The Union believes that by controlling the situation the other problem can also be a problem, but to solve the first it is actually fueling the second by paying the dictators of these states to keep the refugees in place, without letting them enter Europe. Believe that the flows will stop because subsequent waves will be discouraged by this incoming block. But that is not the case, because we are talking about people who are fleeing at the risk of their lives to save themselves, and there will be more and more of them, because of wars, because of the walls we have built, and also because of climate change that we ourselves caused and fueled. In fact, the Union is not pursuing a real refugee policy because it has not given any thought to their distribution and transit corridors. I think they simply prefer hypocrisy to fascism, partly because as long as something isn't made explicit, it can still be fixed. Once it becomes official, you will also be authorized to point guns and shoot those who come here seeking a new life.

How much of what he says Green border Is it based on true stories?
95%. The characters are an amalgamation of many men and women who tried to cross the border, or who helped these people or, on the contrary, rejected them. But facts are all events that actually took place and are documented by witness statements, reports and videos. But to make sure that we don't distort reality in any way, we showed the film to many people working on the border, who I consider to be real heroes, and they all said that what they saw was nothing other than reality of the facts, often becomes emotional during the performance. They also told us that we completely understood the feelings on both sides. Overall, we are all really very proud of the work we have done.

It is not the first time in his cinema that he points out that we need to pay attention to everything that happens around us. The situation between Poland and Belarus is just as explosive, albeit in a different way, as that between Russia and Ukraine and on many other borders around the world.
I believe that all of them are equally serious situations, and it is difficult to say where the event that will trigger a global conflict will occur, since not all confidential information is available for each of these scenarios. I am convinced that the refugee situation is and will continue to be a major problem. And I am also convinced that if a problem of this kind is allowed to be solved with the use of weapons, the next step is genocide. And I really hope that I never have to see the day when the Mediterranean turns red, the Middle East is bombed, or machine guns are used on the border between Poland and Belarus.

Photo: Movies Inspired

Let's talk about style Green border and we start by using black and white and assume that everyone loves black and white.
Yes, that was the main reason, the films I loved most in my life were shot in black and white. And with my young cinematographer, we felt that it was the right choice for this film, on the one hand because of the almost documentary style of the film, but on the other hand because it allows us to have a better command of the symbolism of the story.

You have also worked for high profile television series, The cable especially one of the highest peaks of its kind anywhere. Somehow Green border It seems to have such a narrative structure. Was it important for you to learn a new type of language?
Yes, absolutely, also because I think I learned it in the golden years of this renaissance of television, between the end of the last decade and the first decade of this century, when extraordinary series like The cable and some others. And I chose to do it because at that moment the cinema had faded and the meaning of the story was lost. I'm an older woman, but I think I can still work a little and would like to do it in a modern way. And not alone Green border I called a few young filmmakers who shot parts of the film at the same time as me, and that's something I learned from working in series, which is that you can feed off the talent of your collaborators, unlike in the cinema , which is an environment in which the director's authority reigns supreme. So I think that some of the energy of Green border The result is that I acted as a kind of showrunner, I was in control of the big picture, but there were people who gave a lot to the making of the film.

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