Agnieszka Holland – Mr. Jones #Berlinale2019

Play Podcast
19 min. and 35 sec.

Polish film director Agnieszka Holland on Holodomor, corrupt media and George Orwell.

Play Podcast
19 min. and 35 sec.

PODCAST| Sarah Bradbury interviews Agnieszka Holland, director of the film Mr. Jones.

To listen to the interview, click on the ► icon on the right, just above the picture

Polish film director Agnieszka Holland tells us about why she thought felt compelled to make a film about Welsh journalist Gareth Jones, after learning about his role in uncovering the famine-genocide in Ukraine in 1932-33, Holodomor, how she worked with actor James Norton to develop the central character and the links made in the film to George Orwell and his writing of Animal Farm. The acclaimed director also shared her views on our corrupt media as the biggest threat to modernity and the exciting new opportunities TV has opened up for directors and actors alike in recent years.

Mr. Jones: In March 1933, Welsh journalist Gareth Jones takes a train from Moscow to Kharkov in the Ukraine. He disembarks at a small station and sets off on foot on a journey through the country where he experiences at first hand the horrors of a famine. Everywhere there are dead people, and everywhere he goes he meets henchmen of the Soviet secret service who are determined to prevent news about the catastrophe from getting out to the general public. Stalin’s forced collectivisation of agriculture has resulted in misery and ruin; the policy is tantamount to mass murder. Supported by Ada Brooks, a New York Times reporter, Jones succeeds in spreading the shocking news in the West, thereby putting his powerful rival, the Pulitzer Prize-winning, pro-Stalin journalist Walter Duranty, firmly in his place. Shot in Poland, Scotland and in original locations in the Ukraine, Agnieszka Holland’s film recalls the legendary journalist Gareth Jones (1905-1935) who, despite fierce resistance, could not be dissuaded from telling the truth. Jones’s encounter with the young George Orwell is said to have inspired the latter’s dystopian parable Animal Farm (1945).

To discover more about the film, click here.

  • Reporter
    Sarah Bradbury
  • Guest
    Agnieszka Holland
  • Interviewee role
  • Film title
    Mr. Jones
  • Festival section
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