Three-time Oscar-nominated Polish director Agnieszka Holland continues her defamation suit against Polish Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro after Ziobro refused to apologize for public comments comparing the Netherlands’ new film, the refugee drama The Green Borderto ‘Nazi propaganda’.
A court in Warsaw has upheld the Netherlands’ right to pursue the case, demanding an apology for the comments and calling on Ziobro to make a charitable donation of 50,000 Polish zloty ($11,600) to an association that helps Holocaust survivors .
Ziobro, a leading member of Poland’s right-wing conservative government, made his comments on X, the social platform formerly known as Twitter, on Monday, September 4, ahead of The Green Borderworld premiere at the Venice Film Festival.
The Green Border is a dramatization of the real fate of refugees trapped on the natural border between Belarus and Poland. The refugees were lured there by propaganda from Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko, who cynically provoked a geopolitical crisis and promised migrants easy passage across the Polish border into the European Union. But the Polish government refused to let them in, leaving families stranded and starving in the swampy, treacherous forests between the two countries. Holland’s film interweaves the perspectives of the stranded refugees, Polish border guards and activists who challenge the Polish government, which has closed the border area, to help the migrants in the forest.
Without having seen the film – only a trailer had been released when he posted his comment – Ziobro condemned the Dutch portrayal of events and compared its portrayal of Polish border guards to Nazi propaganda.
“In the Third Reich, the Germans produced propaganda films that depicted Poles as bandits and murderers. Nowadays they have Agnieszka Holland for that,” Ziobro wrote.
While the defamation case continues, Ziobro is under the equivalent of a gag order and is barred from publicly commenting or publishing anything related to Holland and her films until the dispute is resolved.
Mike Downey, a producer The Green Bordernarrate The Hollywood Reporter that the Netherlands is pursuing other possible lawsuits against other members of Ziobro’s party, Suwerenna Polska (Sovereign Poland), who have publicly discredited the director and the film.
“There will be more legal battles,” he says.