Past Film/Video | Contemporary Screen

Green Border

(Agnieszka Holland, 2023)

A family of four sits on the ground wearing winter coats in front of a wall with a circle of stars on it.

Veteran political filmmaker Agnieszka Holland’s powerful refugee narrative Green Border offers both horror and hope—and helped sway a real-life election.

At the “green border” between Belarus and Poland, refugees from North Africa and the Middle East seeking a new life in the European Union are caught in a geopolitical maelstrom where they become the pawns of the powerful. From the lives of the border guards to the activist lawyers, Holland’s film singularly sketches the larger systems manipulating these individuals searching for safety. The legendary director (Europa Europa, The Secret Garden) won the Special Jury Prize at the Venice International Film Festival with this harrowing, urgent drama. In Polish, Arabic, English, and French with English subtitles. (147 mins., DCP)

Holland rushed Green Border to Polish theaters last autumn in advance of the significant national election. The reigning authoritarian Law and Justice party, who built its platform on anti-immigrant hysteria, attacked the film and its director. Government officials called the film “anti-Polish” and the justice minister compared Holland to Joseph Goebbels. These were clear signs that the Polish government was clinging on to a losing campaign—they were voted out of office a month after the film was released. 

Green Border, courtesy of Kino Lorber Films.

"Green Border is a heart-in-mouth thriller...that wraps its social critique in the razor wire of punchy, intelligent cinematic craft."

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About the filmmaker

Agnieszka Holland chevron-down chevron-up

Writer/director Agnieszka Holland began her filmmaking career in the 1970s and is now one of the preeminent film directors in Poland’s storied cinema history. Born in the aftermath of World War II and trained in Prague, Holland’s early films have elements of the Czech New Wave with their focus on political allegory and the internalization of oppressive social systems on the part of the individual. Holland frequently confronts fascism or protofascism in her films and tracks its effects on the behavior of her characters. Her films Bitter Harvest, Europa Europa, and In Darkness were nominated for Academy Awards. 

National Endowment for the Arts
Ohio Humanities

Rohauer Collection Foundation

Ohio Department of Development
Greater Columbus Arts Council
The Wexner Family
Institute of Museum and Library Services
Ohio Arts Council, with support from the National Endowment for the Arts
Ohio State’s Global Arts + Humanities Discovery Theme
The Columbus Foundation
Axium Packaging
Nationwide Foundation
Vorys, Sater, Seymour, and Pease

Mike and Paige Crane
Nancy Kramer
Ohio State Energy Partners
Ohio History Fund/Ohio History Connection
Larry and Donna James
David Crane and Elizabeth Dang
Bruce and Joy Soll
Rebecca Perry Damsen and Ben Towle
Jones Day
Alex and Renée Shumate


Past Film/Video

Green Border