Saturday 13 April 2024

Green Border [2023]

 Celebrated Polish filmmaker Agnieszka Holland’s powerful and harrowing film Green Border riled up her country’s ruling right-wing polity to the point that that they launched a poisonous campaign to vilify its filmmaker for her fearless political convictions. This, of course, wasn’t surprising, even if its magnitude was shocking. The film is a ferocious battle cry highlighting the plight of immigrants fleeing their homes with tenuous hopes and scant means at their disposal, and therefore advocating infinite empathy towards this vulnerable community, as opposed to dehumanizing them, inflicting violence and turning them into political pawns; the ruling coalition government, unfortunately, is fervid in its anti-immigrant stance and their border military forces have been treating the refugees with exactly the kind of brutality that the film unflinchingly depicted. Shot in stunning B/W which permeated urgency and authenticity to the proceedings, this epic work captured a flurry of perspectives through interlocking narrative strands. It began by focusing on a Syrian family and an Afghan woman arriving in Belarus with the objective of crossing over to Poland, and therefore EU, only to realize that, like other Middle-Eastern and African refugees, they’ve become fodder for a nightmarish ping-pong between the antagonistic border forces who’re competing with each other on savagery. The focus then goes on to encompass a conflicted Polish guard, a defiant humanitarian team spearheaded by two courageous sisters, and a feisty psychiatrist who decides to take radical action. The film, that ended with glimpses of Ukrainian refugees being welcome into the country by thousands – as they should be, thus ruefully underscoring the ironic and hypocritical underpinnings to this tragic issue – tempered its scorching dissent with electrifying solidarity and a sliver of hope.

p.s. Watched it at the 2024 Bangalore International Film Festival (BIFFES)

Director: Agnieszka Holland

Genre: Drama/Political Drama/Ensemble Film

Language: Arabic/Polish/English

Country: Poland

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