In competition at the 80th Venice Film Festival is Agnieszka Holland’s latest work, The Green Border: a very tough look at the refugee drama on the Polish-Belarusian border, which explains the events very well from a political point of view, but with some gaps from a political point of view. dramatic.
No Man’s Land
Green border it consists of four chapters set in October 2021, plus a final epilogue set two years later. In fact, we follow the story of some refugees of various ethnic groups, among whom Bashir stands out (Jalal Altaweel), Amina (Dalia Naous), Galia (Thalia Ajahn) and Noor (Taim Ajan), Syrian family members trying to contact relatives in Sweden (Family); subsequently (Guard) The film focuses on the young border guard Jan (Tomas Wlosok) and on a group of volunteers (Activists) plus psychologist (Maya Ostaszewska), which is the title of the fourth part of the film (Julia). All these stories intersect during the latest humanitarian crisis caused by the President’s discovery of Belarus. Alexander Lukashenkomigrants, to obviously allow them to enter the EU, but in which Stas Graniczna, the Polish customs police, also plays a fundamental role. Comparing itself with European and American productions, Agnieszka Holland Thus, he returns to his homeland with a documentary film produced jointly by Poland, France, Belgium and the Czech Republic.
Green border offers a different perspective than usual, focusing on what happens outside the war zones and showing its complexity through the internal dimension of the various characters and therefore the categories they represent: for example, Bashir discusses with his father who he begins to pray at the same time when more practicality of his son, who is trying to get his mobile phone to work in that short time, would be more useful; there are those who justify the actions of the Polish border guard, if only because of their own emotional uplift (the wife of Jan, a soldier), and those who instead criticize it, knowing full well what is actually happening, during discussions that take a place in the rare glimpses of normal everyday life that can be experienced; assistance to refugees is valid as long as a person acts according to the rules so as not to be accused of illegal trafficking in persons and violating the state of emergency, but it is not a fact that in general this is more effective than acting according to conscience. However, it is in cases like the last that certain trivial aspects of the script emerge that detract from the meaning of the whole: for example, the sudden enlightenment of a psychologist, an ordinary woman who finds herself catapulted against her will into events larger than herself, seems to be told too forcedly. Or, again, some forms of redemption for the characters involved aren’t explained very convincingly.
Appearances are deceptive
The narrative consists of long sequential shots and extensive use of a handheld camera, which at times seems almost to spy (without abandoning moments that we could easily define as thrillers) on the action, while paying attention to detail. : the importance of money, which can make a difference with (obviously) some food and water; the burden of the past, represented by the scars on the body, which embodies what one is running from and ends up in the present, consisting of blisters and wounds on the feet; dreams (young Nour’s reference to Mbappe) and the illusion of arriving in a safe country, where in reality you are thrown like “soccer balls” from one border to another. Belonging”GRin BorderThere’s really nothing in the title, as evidenced by the film’s leaden poster: everything is actually shot in superb black and white thanks to director of photography Tomasz Naumiuk, who transforms the Belarusian-Polish border into a wild environment made up mostly of forests, swamps and barbed wire. There is an almost biblical meaning in observing the events intertwined with each other, and perhaps the frequent shots of the sky and the trees towering above it are not accidental, as if they were looking for answers from the latter, which, however, are not impossible to obtain. The music of Frederic Vercheval is too reminiscent of the soundtracks of John Williams, in particular Schindler’s listaccompanying an atmosphere of unfolding events that seems endless not only to those who experience them, but also to those who observe them.
Europe’s New Unwanted People
The script, written by the director together with Gabriela Lazarkiewicz-Sieczko and Maciej Pisuk, has the advantage that it is based on the careful collection and analysis of documents and evidence, which makes it possible to show the events described in a very realistic way. If we remember some of Holland’s films from the past (Europe Europe) the latter seemed to want to emphasize to us how easy it is for History to repeat itself in its ugliness even after a relatively short time. But is it better to forget about them and pretend nothing happened, or use events to create “Series A” and “Series B” refugees, as shown in the shocking final chapter, this time set among Ukrainian refugees on the Polish border ? After all, Green border it also evokes atmosphere and storytelling Unwanted in Europe (2018) a film by Fabrizio Ferrario which, through the reflections of Walter Benjamin, recounts the return journey through the Pyrenees of those who fled Nazi Germany and Franco’s Spain at the start of World War II. There are no opposing paths, just a border war zone that is really a no man’s land that seems impossible to escape. Awaiting completion of his next project, a Kafka biopic (the title of which, if confirmed, will be Franz), Holland essentially serves us as a well-made and politically important film, completed in July 2023 and immediately sent into competition at the Venice Film Festival; here, after three years of “pink” victories (Chloe Zhao for Country of NomadsAudrey Sofa for Anna’s choice and Laura Poitras with All the beauty and pain) it cannot be ruled out that in the race for the Golden Lion of Venice an all-female four may be created.
Original name: Green Border
Direction: Agnieszka Holland
Country/year: Czech Republic, France, Belgium, Germany, Poland / 2023
Throw: Agata Kulesza, Behi Janati Atai, Dalia Naus, Jalal Altaweel, Jan Aleksandrowicz-Krasko, Jasmina Polak, Maciej Stuhr, Magdalena Poplawska, Maja Ostaszewska, Marta Stalmierska, Mohamed Al Rashi, Nadim Suleiman, Piotr Stramovsky, Roman Skorowsky, Tomasz Wlosok
Film script: Maciej Pisiuk, Agnieszka Holland, Gabriela Lazarkiewicz-Sieczko
Photo: Tomas Naumyuk
Assembly: Pavel Hrdlicka
Music: Frederic Vercheval
Director: Sarka Cymbalova, Maria Blicharska, Fred Bernstein, Diana Elbaum, Marcin Wierzchoslawski, Simon Ofenloch, Damien MacDonald, David Ragonig, Agnieszka Holland
Production house: Czech Television, Sofica La Banque Postale Image 17, National Center for Film and Anime (CNC), Astute Films, Metro Films, ZDF/Arte, Films Boutique, Beluga Tree, Field Entertainment, Eurimages, Blick Productions, Center du Cinéma et de l’ Audiovisuel de la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles, European Film Academy, Marlene Film Production, Canal+ Polska, State Film Fund
Distribution: Films inspired by films