‘Green Border’ Trailer: Agnieszka Holland’s Refugee Drama Calls on Poland to Wake Up SuperNayr

Leading Polish filmmaker Agnieszka Holland is back with her latest feature, “Green Border,” a black-and-white refugee crisis drama that puts her country on trial — and won the Special Jury Prize at the 2023 Venice Film Festival. “La La Land” filmmaker Damien Chazelle was president of the jury that included directors Martin McDonagh, Jane Campion, and Mia Hansen-Løve.

The Polish opposition in October 2023 took victory over populism, with pro-European former prime minister Donald Tusk now back in power after a tense election that put nationalism at the fore. But freedom of speech issues remained a concern: Mere weeks prior, Poland’s exiting conservative leadership under Mateusz Morawiecki vilified “Green Border,” the latest homegrown release from one of the country’s best filmmakers, as anti-Poland in its depiction of refugees caught in the zone between Poland and Belarus. The Directors Guild of America went on to defend Holland against threats made by the former government of her home country, with the European Film Academy also issuing a statement of support last fall.

Paul Dano attends the 28th Annual Critics Choice Awards
Moi Aussi

It’s here at this green border that Middle Eastern and African refugees attempt to make it to the European Union, only to become pawns of geopolitical war. This nearly three-hour black-and-white film takes an unflinching look at corruption among Polish border guards as a Syrian refugee family attempts to make safe passage.

Holland drew inspiration from a 2021 incident where Belarus’ dictator Alexander Lukashenko threatened thousands of people stuck at the green border; Holland and screenwriters Maciej Pisuk and Gabriela Łazarkiewicz-Sieczko poured hours of research into making the film as documentary-like as possible. The cast includes Jalal Altawil, Maja Ostaszewska, Tomasz Włosok, and Behi Djanati Atai.

IndieWire’s Venice review wrote, “Despite biting off a bit more than it can chew, it’s an affecting introduction to a little-known crisis and the latest case of a master filmmaker showing us they can still do it,” adding, “Holland’s film is a desperate, transparent call for her country to get a grip. That seems optimistic, but she is certainly pissing off the right people.”

“Green Border” opens June 21 in New York and expands to Los Angeles June 28 from Kino Lorber.

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