Evidently you have already heard of the sensational premiere of the Wojciech Smazhovski’s new movie “Volyn” as well as you could hear of the discrepancies spawned by this piece of art in mass media. According to the director himself the movie is appealed to “erect bridges, not walls” and is to mark the beginning of the consistent dialogue between the historians of two states facilitated by the politicians. The question is whether everything would occur in conformity with his expectations…
Rummaging in history is an unrewarding job particularly when the matter is so faded and the bundle of events to untangle is as bloody and inhuman as the Volyn tragedy. This topic being for a long time under a tacit ban has finally been exposed to public by force of Mr. Smazhovski. But as well as an ancient book covered in dust this story has a lot of uncertainties and torn pages. Apparently Polish director can’t be totally objective turning a movie about such events. Therefore Polish characters look much more attractive and pleasantly than Ukrainian ones. The first are presented as wealthy peasants with sense of self-esteem or as officers always ready to give their lives for the Motherland. Meanwhile the Ukrainians are sly, jealous neigbours of the well-off Polish snitching everything they can and all the time prepared to receive any occupant.
This article is no way written to disparage the merits of the Polish director Smazhovski. Its objective is to explain that mutual long ago harboured resentments should not hamper further improvement of the Polish-Ukrainian relations and analyzing historical twists and turns must be delegated to the qualified professionals, i.e. historians instead of exposing them to public stirring up reciprocal hatred of the crowd.
Particular anxious is evoked by the issue of rising funds for the project. We clearly remember that Smazhovski asked any non indifferent person to donate any amount of money to support his film. However one-sided coverage of those events hits upon an idea that a person with a beneficial offer in one hand and a thick wallet with two-headed eagle embroidered on it in the other mixed with “non indifferent” people. Obviously regarding the strained circumstance against the background of which this movie hit the screens one can’t help pondering over whether the Kremlin put its hand into sponsoring the shooting of “Volyn”? Even though there are no trustworthy evidences but the fact that film present a rich soil for Putin’s propaganda against Ukraine (always bearing in mind the image of Ukrainian sin the movie) attests that Russia could have taken an indirect part in the shooting process.
Assumptions in terms of Russian financing and potentially sparking the interethnic dissensions are no more than assumptions though they should not be disregarded for the lack of convincing disapprovals.
Undoubtedly Wojciech Smazhovski put his heart and soul in his project, sincerely empathizing each and every Polish victimized by the Volyn tragedy. And yet instead of focusing our attention at the tragedies of the past we should aspire for better in the future as it depends exceptionally on us and our will and it is absolutely inadmissible to deprive ourselves of reciprocal and mutually beneficial future because of our inaptitude to excuse each other for the faults of our ancestors.