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An eye opener for the new generation on the historical events in Poland during the ’70s in communist Poland, this brilliantly made animated film weaves together archive footage and stop-motion animation capturing the historical confrontation between the brave protesters and the brutal response of the authorities. Best Polish documentary at the Krakow Film Festival.

Poland | 2021 | 70 min

PRODUCTION: Anna Gawlita – Kijora Film; Polish Television, Institute of National Remembrance

ANIMATION: Robert Sowa

EDITING: Tomasz Wolski

SOUND: Marcin Lenarczyk

MUSIC: Bartlomiej Tycinski, DJ Lenar

Synopsis

In 1970, protests broke out in several coastal cities in communist Poland. Workers went on strike to protest against increasing prices. Instead of just using archive footage, Wolski weaves in stop-motion animation of how the bureaucrats and political leaders of the country attempted to manage the growing crisis. The animation is no work of fantasy – the real recordings of phone calls and meetings are used to voice the tense grey figures at their desks. As the protests begin to spiral out of control, increasingly brutal methods to reign in the population are discussed over the phone. The cuts in the archive footage show the tragic results.

Thursday 24.11. / 14:00h / ZAAL 2

Director’s statement

These phone calls by communist dignitaries have never been used in a documentary before. They show the backstage of important decisions and how the crisis management was handled at the time. By building realistic models and dolls, I decided to convey the atmosphere of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the atmosphere at the time. I also wanted the audience to be able to observe the people who had an impact on the events – to experience their fears and the horror of the situation. Stop-motion animation fulfilled this role. The characters were made to reflect the realistic details of the individual characters of the film on a scale of 1:6.

Festivals & Awards (selection)

Visions du Réel, Switzerland 2021 – Special Jury Award (International Feature Film Competition) | Kraków Film Festival 2021 – Silver Hobby Horse for Best National Documentary | IDFA, 2021 – Best of Fests | ZagrebDox, 2022 – Special Mention

Director’s bio

Member of Guild of Polish Documentary Directors, Polish Film Academy and European Film Academy. Director of the short film “Daughter” (Grand Prix at Angers Premiers Plan) and director, editor, cameramen of 13 documentaries awarded at many international festivals incl. Visions du Réel, Los Angeles Film Festival, Palm Springs Film Festival, Punto de Vista, Nancy – Aye Aye Film Festival, Evora – FIKE, Flickerfest International Short Film Festival, Camerimage and Krakow Film Festival.

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