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ROME 2023

Critique : Mur

par 

- La comédienne Kasia Smutniak passe derrière la caméra avec un voyage dans sa mémoire et un carnet de bord de la recherche du mur entre la Pologne et la Biélorussie qui barre l'accès aux migrants

Critique : Mur
Kasia Smutniak dans Mur

Cet article est disponible en anglais.

There is a common thread that links Green Border [+lire aussi :
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bande-annonce
fiche film
]
by Agnieszka Holland, winner of the Special Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival, and Walls [+lire aussi :
bande-annonce
fiche film
]
by Kasia Smutniak, which had its world premiere in Toronto and was selected at Festa del Cinema di Roma in Special Screening. Both denounce the brutal and inhumane treatment reserved for migrants stranded on the border between Poland and Belarus, the “red zone”, where a crisis erupted in 2021. The similarities stop there. The feature film that unleashed a wave of hatred towards the 74-year-old Polish filmmaker is a dramatic fictional reconstruction based on the testimonies of refugees and activists. The directorial debut of the Polish actress naturalised in Italy — who stars in the Italian-British series Domina and is noted for her appearances in the films of Paolo Sorrentino (Loro [+lire aussi :
bande-annonce
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]
), the Taviani brothers (Wondrous Boccaccio [+lire aussi :
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interview : Paolo et Vittorio Taviani
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]
), Paolo Genovese (Perfect Strangers [+lire aussi :
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fiche film
]
) — is a documentary, a kind of personal travel diary. It comes out in Italy right after the results of the political elections in Poland, which could now abandon the sovereignist drift that has characterised it for eight years.

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Smutniak, born in northwestern Poland, decided to go together with co-writer Marella Bombini – who is also an operator on this trip, with smartphones and ultra-light cameras – in March 2022, a few days after Russia started invading Ukraine and Poland was among the first countries in Europe to offer refugees asylum. Smutniak's subject, however, is the wall that the Polish government finishes constructing in the red zone to prevent the entry of migrants seeking refuge in the European Union. In an attempt to get closer to the strip of land that runs along the entire Belarusian border, where access isn’t permitted to the media, Smutniak relies on local activists, mostly linked to Grupa Granica, an organisation that provides humanitarian aid: food, clothes, medicine. “How can you decide someone else’s fate, life or death? Nobody is God,” an activist comments bitterly. The deaths number in the hundreds: dead from hardship, trapped in the Narewka swamps, or attacked by wolves, in the wonderful and immense expanse of trees of Puszcza Białowieża, the last great virgin forest in Europe, which the deputy prime minister has ordered to be deforested. Then comes (as a surprise to the viewer) a guided tour of the infamous wall. Smutniak hides a microphone and we hear the border policewoman proudly explain that the wall is 186 kilometres long and 5.5 metres high, equipped with cameras and movement sensors in case someone tries to dig a tunnel. 

From one wall to another, an older one, that of the Jewish cemetery of the Litzmannstadt ghetto, in front of the window of her grandparents' house in Łódź, where the director played as a child. In this expedition back into her past, the director tries her hand at a metaphorical juxtaposition between the intolerance, prejudice and segregation of yesterday and today. She does so with respect. Furthermore, Smutniak cannot ignore her acting body, a fundamental instrument of her artistic expression, something that can be witness and memory. Here the camera lingers for a long time on her face, on her expressions, on certain unfinished sentences, on personal elements that are not strictly functional to the narrative. This doesn't really contribute to the rigour required by the documentary format and the viewer could be taken aback. But it is her journey, and her personal call for action. 

Walls is produced by Fandango in association with Luce Cinecittà, who are releasing it in Italy on 20 October. International sales are handled by Fandango Sales.

(L'article continue plus bas - Inf. publicitaire)

(Traduit de l'italien)

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