Ukraine’s famine film warns Europe

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Fading memories of 20th century horrors are leaving European society less resilient to similar evils that could lie ahead, Polish director Agnieszka Holland said at the premiere of “Mr Jones”, her film about the 1930s Ukrainian famine.

Holland, who during a decades-long career has made films about the Nazi Holocaust and Communist tyranny in Eastern Europe, pointed to Britain’s vote to leave the European Union as a sign that lessons from the past were being forgotten.

“I think that the experience of World War Two, the Holocaust, gave to Europe especially some kind of vaccination out of fear that things like that can happen again, but it evaporated in the last few years,” she told reporters at the Berlin Film Festival before her film was presented on Sunday.

The film, one of 17 competing for the festival’s Golden Bear award, tells the story of Gareth Jones, the Welsh journalist who escaped the gilded cage of 1930s moscow to discover that the facade of a thriving Soviet economy rested on Ukrainian corpses.

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