Kasia Smutniak in Walls official trailer
Kasia Smutniak in Walls. Courtesy of Fandango

Ahead of the world premiere at Toronto Film Festival, Fandango debuted the first look official trailer for Walls, the directorial debut of Award-winning Italian actress Kasia Smutniak.

Walls is both an intimate diary of Smutniak returning home to examine the past and present of her native country of Poland, and an investigative reportage on the current migrant situation there. Her itinerary, an uncertain and risky journey into the red zone where no media access is allowed, begins in front of a wall that is being built by the government to keep people out, and ends in front of another wall from the past, that was built by an invading country to keep people in.

When Russia invaded Ukraine in March 2022, a mass exodus of Ukrainian refugees sought asylum across Europe. Among the European countries offering aid and refuge, Poland stood out for its generous open-door policy toward its Ukrainian neighbors. Meanwhile, Poland had simultaneously begun the construction of Europe’s most expensive wall, along its entire border with Belarus to deter refugees from other countries from entering. A strip of land known as the red zone running parallel to the Belarusian border with Poland prevents anyone from approaching and seeing the construction of the border wall, the primary protagonist of the story told in “Walls”. With the help of local activists and minimal technical equipment, Kasia reaches the border and films what is being hidden.

The second wall in the film is in front of Kasia’s grandparents’ house in Łódź, where she played as a child. It is the wall of the Jewish cemetery in the Litzmannstadt ghetto, the Nazi ghetto where Jews and Roma were forced to live under the German occupation of Poland during World War II.

Trying to reconcile herself with her past, Kasia returns home with a strong awareness: acceptance must not make distinctions, anyone in peril must be helped, a continent that calls itself democratic does not erect walls.

Watch the official trailer for Walls.

Toronto Film Festival screenings

Sunday, September 10th at 12:45 pm at Scotiabank 9 – World Premiere
Tuesday, September 12th at 3:45 pm at Scotiabank 9

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