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Green Border 15

Agnieszka Holland, Belgium, Czechia, France, Poland, 2023, 152m.

In the murky and perilous forests of the 'green border' dividing Belarus and Poland, a calculated and dangerous game unfolds. Refugees from the Middle East and Africa, desperate to reach the safety of the European Union, find themselves ensnared in a sinister geopolitical scheme orchestrated by Belarusian autocrat Alexander Lukashenko.


The refugees are unwitting pawns in Lukashenko's brazen attempt to incite Europe. Deceived by false promises of easy passage, they are drawn to the border through relentless

propaganda. Among them are Julia, a passionate new activist who has abandoned her comfortable life for the cause, and Jan, a young border guard navigating a moral labyrinth. Their fates become entwined with that of a Syrian family, each Caught in the web of this manufactured crisis. Against the backdrop of an era defined by shifting political landscapes, Green Border, the stirring new film by three-time Oscar Nominee Agnieszka Holland, thrusts us into a world where idealism collides with harsh realities.

The Garden Cinema View:

A monumental political statement from Agnieszka Holland which has made her a pariah in certain echelons of Polish society, and a harrowing viewing experience for the audience, Green Border is a sobering depiction of Europe’s treatment of migrants. The initial section tightens its grip to such an brutally suffocating extent that, combined with Tomasz Naumiuk steely monochrome cinematography, you might think this is descending into The Painted Bird territory. Thankfully (for us), the hold is released and the scope widened to encompass various sides of this crisis (activists, a guard, an apolitical civilian). Whilst the material remains tough to watch, Holland’s focus with every scene is to give names, voices, and depth of character and feeling to the persecuted and stateless. To her credit, this film is ultimately a powerful attempt to combat the systematic discourse of dehumanisation directed towards migrants in Belarus, Poland, further afield, and close to home.  

Jalal Altawil, Maja Ostaszewska, Behi Djanati Atai, Tomasz Włosok

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