Spielberg Shoot Sparks Excitement … and Groaning

World renowned film director Steven Spielberg has been shooting scenes for his cold war thriller 'St. James Place' in Wroclaw this week.

With Tom Hanks also now on set, the Nadodrze district chosen as the location for the shoot has quickly become the centre of attention. The film hasn't been welcomed by all the locals however, who have contacted the city's press to gripe about high security and blocked streets. 

The streets of Ptasia, Kurkowa and Komuny Paryskiej have understandably all been blocked off to traffic to allow for the construction of the set, which is intended to represent cold war era Berlin. As you can imagine, car parking has been restricted in the area too. These mildly inconvenient restrictions have nevertheless only formed a fraction off all the complaints.

Among the locals to groan in the press about Spielberg coming to town is a woman named Agnieszka, who moaned to Gazeta Wroclawska about her usual route to the local shop being cut off due to the film set. Another complaint came from a man called Emil, who is quoted as saying "Spielberg? I don't know the guy." before going on to claim that the film crew had dismantled antennas and left people without TV. Others went as far as saying they'd been "cut off from the world" and that they are living in "occupied Berlin" as a result of the road and street restrictions. 

Film crew representative Marianna Rowińska disputed that last claim however, stating that the filmmakers are doing everything to accommodate the local residents. Regarding the loss of TV in homes, Marianna also stressed that they had replaced the tv antennas with roof aerials at their own expense. If somebody has no TV signal, she has said they should report it to the film crew representative who looks after the residents.

Another gripe has been the fuss security have been making about mobile phone snaps. Nowadays taking a quick photo on a smartphone and uploading it to social media has never been easier, and film crews are all too aware of this. In an effort to keep things under wraps before official pictures are released, it would appear that instructions have been given to security to take a hard line on photographing the set. Posters hung outside the film set make it clear that filming is prohibited too. 

The aforementioned Gazeta Wroclawska article also claims an ambulance was prevented from getting through to treat an elderly resident and that the film crew have failed to adequately clean up after themselves.

On top of that, new allegations published today suggest that inhabitants living by the film set cannot even so much as look out the window without being shouted at over the megaphone. The same article even goes so far as  to claim security guards have been shining lasers into the faces of residents who dare to have a quick peep at the set through their own windows.  

Are these complaints truly genuine or representative of the residents in the local area? Having not had the chance to see first hand yet, it is only possible for us to speculate. 

Negative news stories often travel faster than positive ones, so it would not come as a complete surprise if the local media have been unable to resist spinning the story in a bad light. It is only human nature to have a moan from time to time, and if your complaint involves two Hollywood superstars then that's arguably all the better in the eyes of the press.

What would be a fair representation of the truth though? This is a question that only the locals can answer, so we would be delighted if anyone living or working in the area could tell us their story by using the Facebook comments facility below. 

Gregor Gowans

The founder and editor of Wroclaw Uncut, Gregor has been running the website since its inception in 2012. A Wroclawian for almost 10 years, Gregor writes on a wide variety of topics including, food & drink, nightlife, local news and politics. He is also a regular guest on Radio Ram's Sunday lunch programme.

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