Holland said Wednesday that she planned to bring defamation charges against Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro unless she receives an apology within seven days. She also demanded that he make a charitable donation of 50,000 Polish zlotys ($11,600) to an association that helps Holocaust survivors.
Holland’s feature film, “Green Border,” explores a migration crisis that has played out along Poland’s border with Belarus over the past two years. It takes a sympathetic approach toward the migrants from the Middle East and Africa who got caught up as pawns in a geopolitical standoff.
It also looks critically at the way Poland’s security services pushed back migrants who were lured to the border by Belarus, an ally of Russia.
Ziobro slammed the film earlier this week, saying: “In the Third Reich, the Germans produced propaganda films showing Poles as bandits and murderers. Today, they have Agnieszka Holland for that.”
He made his comment on the social platform X, formerly Twitter, on Monday, a day before the film had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival.
Holland noted in a statement that Ziobro, who serves as prosecutor general as well as justice minster, commented on her film without having seen it and that she believed his words amounted to defamation, calling them “despicable.”
“I cannot remain indifferent to such an open and brutal attack by a person who holds the very important constitutional position of minister of justice and prosecutor general in Poland,” she wrote in a statement from Venice dated Wednesday but published in Poland on Thursday.