Directed by Maciej J. Drygas
Writing credits Maciej J. Drygas
Runtime: 58 min
Country: France / Poland
Color: Black and White
It is a basic feature of totalitarian regimes - whether they be of the ideological or religious variety - that they want to quash dissent. So it is no surprise that Poland, along with the other iron curtain countries, had a secret police and a network of informers which maintained surveillance on citizens who dared to criticize the government and the system. But not only that: in a system where all economic production and distribution was controlled by the government, those who broke economic rules - for example, selling a few bras in a shop from an unofficial source - also became "suspects". This film takes a typical day in 1962 and narrates the transcripts of secret police files about what "suspects" did: all so mundane as to be amusing. But the real nature of the "workers' paradise" - shortages of all commodities, shabby consumer goods and decaying infrastructure - is also superbly conveyed with a clever mix of historic film and TV footage with recreations. As well as secret police transcripts, there are also sad private letters narrated. In all it is a highly recommended film for anyone interested in 20th century history.
Silver Dragon - Best Documentary Maciej J. Drygas For its insightful humour and its masterly editing of archive material. It created an absurd vision of totalitarianism in Poland.