- Sissy Wallen was born and raised in Sweden. However, she has Polish roots, which made her go back to her mother’s country and find the answers that she hid from her. The woman miscarried at an early age and then left her homeland
- In 2019, a Swedish woman made a documentary in Poland and named it Bison. In translation, it is just a bison bull. Activists took to the streets in this animal’s clothes. This way they showed their strength and at the same time they protected themselves
- In the Wallin documentary, there are reproductive rights advocates, including Antonina Lewandowska and Maja Stako, but also the closest women to the Swede: grandmother, aunt and cousin. Thanks to them, he got to know another side of his mother who recently passed away
- Onet interlocutor dreams of distributing “Bison” in Poland and causing a nationwide debate
- You can find more on the homepage of Onet.pl
The 43-year-old came to Poland shortly before the outbreak of the epidemic. Her mother’s country was devastated by women’s strikes. Abortion is no longer legal practice. The Swedes don’t have to fight for it, but they have other issues to solve.
Sisi knows something about it – when she said out loud that she had been raped in her youth, Sweden held her breath. The alleged executioner became angry and brought Wallin to court. In the document you submitted, you didn’t believe this happened. It is also difficult for her to understand that Polish women must protest in defense of their basic rights. One foot in Sweden and the other in Poland.
At the same time, she is trying to get to know the woman who gave birth to her better. She felt like she didn’t know everything about her – and certainly not the basics. After her death, she searched for information on where her mother grew up and where the idea of living in a different, better reality grew. All this adds up to the movie “Bison” we’ve been talking about for about an hour.
– I think she would be very moved – I hear from the Swedish woman when asked what her mother would say about her film. Christina Wallen is dead, but Sissy senses her mother’s presence in a strange way during the photos. The trip to Poland was to answer a number of questions asked throughout the 37-year-old’s life that her mother avoided. And she wanted to know what made a girl from communist Poland want to be someone else.
– I’m sorry I don’t know Polish – She complains about Cissi Zoom. – My mother never taught him, she went to Sweden when she was very young. She was ashamed of being Polish – I explained it, and the shots from the Bison kept coming back at me. I can see Christina’s face again, her voice ringing in my ears. She had dark hair and a sincere smile that radiated the strength her daughter had inherited.
– I think I made a picture of my mother as close to the truth as possible. I didn’t find many answers, though – you know – my aunt and cousin were very open about the difficulties. But my grandmother said, “No, no problems.” However, she was captured by the Nazis, lived in poverty, and fought to survive, she notes.
The rest of the text is below the video.
I’ve heard many times that the older generation of Polish and Polish women do just that. They don’t want to admit how bad it is for them. They keep everything inside, somewhere very deep. “But even though my grandmother kept repeating her speech, I was able to read between the lines and from her eyes what I really felt,” Sissy confirms. Especially poignant is the moment when her cousin asks the old woman what she dreamed of when she was a little girl. After a long moment, the devastating answer is that there were no dreams, only hard work.
My stomach narrows, and at the mention of my aunt – her name is Gaga. She is open and honest, misses Christina, with whom fate separated from her childhood. As they grew up, they bonded again, supported and visited each other. Gaga received children’s clothing packages from her. Colorful objects were visible in gray-blue Poland. Christina always said she would let her go. It saved dollars from … the smuggling of electron tubes (used in the production of televisions) into Slovakia. I borrowed money from a neighbor to buy a ferry to Sweden. She radically changed her life, leaving the Polish identity behind.
I grew up in much more difficult circumstances than me, with nothing. Somehow, I was lucky. It is true that we were not rich, but we lived like other children of the middle class. My mom came here and built everything from scratch. She started her job as a cleaner and later opened her own shop. She was better off in Sweden because it was possible. She got her driver’s license after six months! I learned Swedish very quickly. Can you imagine if you repeated it in Poland? real madness
– Reports by Sissi’s mother.
Krystyna quickly adapted to new conditions. She had a knack for languages and had a great will to survive. She kept saying to her daughter: “No one will give you anything. You have to fight for yourself.” – I can see it in the Polish women, this fight is in your blood. Someone once told me that Poland would have stood without you – adds the Swede.
Her journey here is divided into several stages. As Wallen approaches his mother, he watches Polish women fight for the right to abortion. He talks to sexual and reproductive rights activists – from Antonina Lewandowska to Maja Stako. This data links complaints from the government and the Catholic Church.
I’m more interested in the perspective of Sissy’s cousin – a very religious mother of two. And although she is against abortion as a method of contraception, she is in favor of choice. He knows the choice can prevent a lot of drama. – We grew up together, I know her from the inside out and in my opinion she is conservative, but I understand it. I know where it came from – Swedish women’s comments.
We grew up in very different environments, and she was attached to the church. I totally understand why she feels the way she does today. This is also the reason why I wanted to show the film in Poland, because it is easy to ignore your situation – he confirms.
Because Sweden also fails women. Cissy, who accused an influential man of rape and became persona non grata, failed. Sweden supports female citizens with abortion, but it is clear that it struggles with sexual violence. Three years after the conviction (40,000 500 zlotys fine), my interlocutor is preparing for a new trial. Her lawyers appealed to the Swedish Supreme Court.
The book “All I Had – A Story Not to Be Told”, in which he talks about the accident, is still up for sale. “It’s my little victory,” Sissy smiles. You have to wait up to 13 weeks to get a CV. Many want to buy it.
“Bison” is her therapy, a way of dealing with difficult feelings. – Although my main goal was to show the stories of specific women. Being a woman today is a very universal experience. We can see our own reflection in another’s life. We all fight for the right to decide ourselves – our lives and our bodies – asserts.
Susanna is an important character in the documentary. We don’t recognize her name, she wears sunglasses in front of the camera. Wallaine reveals the secrets and traumas of his compatriots who are hiding under the rug. He says it is not easy to classify them. Each one is different. Despite all this, she has a Polish woman for a “special kind of fighter”. “I saw a lot of my mother in Susanna,” says the Swedish woman. Kristina was definitely a Polish fighter.
She did not tell my mother about her feelings. I remember asking her many times why she went to Sweden. But she always changed the subject. Sometimes she hinted at something. When she got sick and we thought she wouldn’t make it out of it, it was too late to ask questions. I realized I should ask someone else. My aunt, my grandmother, my cousin, and of course my dad who didn’t know much either.
Everything was a mystery. – Today, of course, I have more answers than before, but – as I heard – when I asked my aunt about my mother’s miscarriage, she refused to speak. In the 1970s, it was not possible to terminate a pregnancy and it cannot be performed now. He adds that this is a very sensitive topic.
37 women have many memories related to Poland. She got to know him through the eyes of a child when she was visiting her family once a year with her mother. – I like Polish dishes. I can eat them every day – laughs. – I understood a lot, although I can not use the language. A romantic image of Poland has been created in my head – he says. As an adult female, Sissy, of course, sees more. I got angry while shooting the movie. – “Bison” is a way of telling a story that can make a difference – he confirms.
Because of the epidemic, she could not return here. She couldn’t see the women who had opened up to her again. Just like Katarzina – a resident of Gniezno, who was raped by a girlfriend. I went to the police, where the father of the offender once worked. She testified and delivered the tapes and letters. Later, by some strange coincidence, the most important clue was the disappearance. Katarzina found out that she had taken over the law enforcement agencies and was due to go to prison for this for three months.
Her story is heartbreaking. She never went to a restaurant because she couldn’t afford it. Once she got out of Gniezno, when she had to appear before a court in Warsaw. Wallen says she was very isolated.
The word “bison” means bison in Swedish. “Polish activists often disguise themselves as bison to show their strength and at the same time for their own safety” – this is the information panel I see at the end of the film. Then there is another one, another. Directed by: Sissy Wallen. In large red letters.
Date created: April 28, 2022, 2:49 pm