Summer 2013, Western Ukraine. We accompany a group of Poles whose families survived massacre by Ukrainian nationalists in 1943. Seventy years on, they return to visit their villages - now mostly empty fields, and meet their former neighbours.
Ukrainians and Poles tell stories of horrific slaughter, but also of complex and moving relations between people who had lived alongside each other for centuries, and of how some risked their lives to save their alleged enemies.
The setting is a timeless lyrical landscape.
'My Friend the Enemy' has been selected for IDFA, the International Documentary Festival in Amsterdam this November 2014.
"An interview with Wanda Koscia, director and producer of the documentary film “My Friend the Enemy.”
Online at VISEGRAD/INSIGHT written by journalist Ángel López Peiró
Now also in Spanish
We have a first preview screening in Warsaw on 23 September 2014.
‘This is the missing piece of the mosaic, at last. Not just of what Ukrainians and Poles did to another then, but somehow of all the murderous horrors of that war, those years. More than the countless films and books about the Jewish holocaust or Oradour or Warsaw, this presents to me the fearsome stew of inconceivable cruelty and moral confusion, neighbours who can turn against neighbours and then risk their own lives to rescue strangers in the name of Christ. Women weeping with joy to see descendants of Poles who lived among them and yet, apparently, still believing that only the Banderites saved them from being murdered by the Poles.
Neal Ascherson, Journalist and writer, (The Polish August: The Self-limiting Revolution, The Nazi Legacy, Black Sea. …)
‘A fascinating film, giving much food for thought.' Norman Davies, Historian, (God’s Playground, White Eagle Red Star, Europe a Hsitory, The Isles, Rising ’44, …)
'Revealing, beautiful, frightening, tender... There is much to say, applaud and think about in Wanda Koscia's My Friend The Enemy. It's a film that digs deep into the hearts and minds of Ukrainians and Poles. This is a disturbing story from World War II that is conveyed with substance and sympathy. Recent events in Ukraine have underlined Koscia's emphasis on the historical importance of memory and national identity.'
Martin Smith, Emmy award-winning filmaker, (The World at War, Vietnam - A Television History, The Struggles for Poland...)
‘The landscape and the everyday goings-on of present-day village life give time to soothe and relieve. There's such a dramatic contrast between the horror of the memories, and the deep quiet, remoteness and beauty of the area today. The reconciliation efforts are heartening, but not sentimentalised.‘
Anna Reid, writer and journalist (Borderland: a journey through the history of Ukraine, The Shaman’s Coat, Leningrad.)
‘Focusing on rescuers allows the hard history to come out in as gentle a fashion as possible, yet the narrative still makes a powerful impact. The sparks of humanity help us work through this dark era... a very moving film.’
John-Paul Himka, Professor of East European History, University of Alberta
Directed and Produced by Wanda Koscia
Editor: Stefan Ronowicz
Camera: Andrzej Adamczak
Music: Frank Ilfman
Production: Grupa Filmowa, Warsaw
Enquiries Contact : My Friend the Enemy Film