Walls by Kasia Smutniak: directorial debut in Toronto with a documentary on migrants

Directorial debut for Kasia Smutniak, the Polish-born actress who took up the camera to make a documentary denouncing the “walls” that divide living beings into those who are worthy of acceptance and those who are not. The actress brings to the Toronto International Film Festival a documentary, entitled Walls, which will have its world premiere on September 10 and whose trailer has just been released in Variety, which sheds light on the border policies of her home country and the refugee crisis in the European Union. Smutniak’s documentary is a travel diary in her native Poland. The country that in 2022, when Russia invaded Ukraine causing a mass exodus of refugees seeking asylum, stood out among the European countries that have most offered aid and refuge to those fleeing war. But the country is also the same one that built the wall along the entire border with Belarus to discourage the entry of migrants from Syria.

Smutniak’s journey in her documentary is also a journey divided by walls: the one in front of the window of her grandparents’ house in Łódź, where the director played as a child, which was the wall of the Jewish cemetery in the Litzmannstadt ghetto. And the one against migrants arriving from distant lands through Puszcza Białowieża, the oldest forest in Europe, an impenetrable border in a sea of ​​trees. Walls of all kinds, therefore: some insurmountable, invisible and which divide people into human beings worthy of sympathy and those who do not deserve it. Walls that are forests, barbed wire but which sometimes open wide like open doors, as in the case of the reception of Ukrainian refugees. On his journey, Smutniak arrives with the camera right inside the so-called red zone, the forbidden area inside the Białowieża forest, the oldest and most dense in Europe, known for teeming with swamps and packs of wolves, where desperate migrants they get trapped. Walls is written by Smutniak and Marella Bombini and produced by Domenico Procacci, Laura Paolucci and Smutniak: the film is a Fandango production in association with Luce Cinecittà which will also handle its distribution.