Opinion | What Do You Fear the Most? ‘That I’m Not Who I Should Be.’

In a new short film, Warsaw residents
express their deepest worries and anxieties.

In a new short film, Warsaw
residents express their deepest
worries and anxieties.

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In a new short film, Warsaw residents express their deepest worries and anxieties.

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By Bartlomiej Zmuda

Mr. Zmuda is a documentary filmmaker.

When I started working on the short documentary above a couple of years ago, I saw the world as a relatively calm and stable place. The fears expressed by the people I interviewed were largely private, individual concerns. We had no idea of the global pandemic lying in wait for us.

Then our world changed completely. The pandemic transformed our everyday lives and caused millions of deaths. Russia invaded Ukraine, just over the border from my home country, Poland, where this documentary was filmed. The world seems ever more unstable and threatening.

In light of all that, some of the fears expressed in the film feel to me like dispatches from a simpler time, while others seem eerily prescient. Did people somehow sense that the world was teetering on a precipice?

My hope is that the vulnerability and honesty displayed here reaches across time and borders. When you look at these people and listen to their worries, do you see your own fears reflected?

Bartlomiej Zmuda is a filmmaker based in Poland.

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