WARSAW - Poland’s new conservative rulers think their country faces an image problem abroad and they want Hollywood to produce a Polish equivalent of ‘Braveheart’ or ‘Pearl Harbor’ to promote their country’s positive place in history.

They believe a major movie would make Poland feel proud of its achievements and win it more respect on the world stage at a time when many citizens are falling behind financially. Critics say the government wants to exploit growing feelings of nationalism in order to boost its popularity and divert public attention from economic problems. But, by putting an emphasis on patriotism, the government also risks stirring up more xenophobia at a time when Europe is grappling with a massive influx of refugees from the Middle East. ‘There is no internationally recognised film about Polish history. I regret this,’ Culture Minister Piotr Glinski told Reuters in an interview. ‘Why is this important? Every community needs something that brings it together to build its strength and to win, or rather, not to lose, on the world stage. Economically and politically,’ he said. Glinski’s eurosceptic Law and Justice party (PiS) won an election in October promising greater economic equality and a nationalist response to growing influence from Brussels.

PiS has since announced plans for a major public relations campaign at home and abroad, including the possible film venture, as well as a drive to make schools, theatres and public television promote more patriotic themes. Glinski, who is the most senior member of the cabinet after the prime minister, said the film could for example tell the story of the 1683 battle of Vienna or the 1944 battle of Monte Cassino, the latter one of the toughest in World War Two.

In Vienna, Poles helped defeat the Turks in what marked the end of the Ottoman Empire’s expansion into Europe. ‘Almost every wartime story of a Polish soldier is a ready-made script,’ Glinski said. The film would ‘tell the world who has protected our civilisation’. Asked if there were any movies that could serve as a model for the government’s plans, he said: ‘Yes, there are many, particularly American ones: Saving Private Ryan or Pearl Harbor. The well-known patriotic production about the heroic history of the Scots - Braveheart - can also be used as an example.’ Glinski said the goal was a ‘Hollywood-level’ film and the government had been in touch with potential producers, although he did not say who they were.