The startling story of Ryszard Siwiec, a man who, on a Polish national holiday in September 1968, immolated himself in front of thousands of people in a stadium in Warsaw. Drygas’s insightful film reflects on the rupture between official record and human history, the impossibility of absolute truth, and the malleable nature of collective memory.

The theme of revisionist history is prefigured in the film’s opening shot, a wordless sequence of uniformed officers taking turns in confiscating documents from a private residence to be destroyed on a bonfire. Cutting to a records clerk unlocking a remote storage room in order to retrieve incomplete archived reports on the investigation into Siwiec’s self-immolation – the dossier containing only a related citation for distributing flyers containing 'false information'. The juxtaposition between the labyrinthine odyssey through locked vaults and the retrieval of Siwiec’s sanitised files becomes a metaphor for an suppressed Cold War history.

Original title
Usłyszcie mój krzyk
Filmmaker
Maciej Drygas
Country
Poland
Year
1991
Medium
35mm
Length
46’
Language
Polish
Production Company
Studio Filmowe Logos
Sales
Wytwórnia Filmów Oświatowych
Writer
Maciej Drygas
Cinematography
Stanislaw Sliskowski
Editor
Dorota Wardeszkiewicz
Sound Design
Andrzej Zabicki
Music
Anna Izykowska-Mironowicz
Cast
Ryszard Siwiec, Maria Siwiec, Innocenta Siwiec, Elzbieta Siwiec, Wit Siwiec, Adam Siwiec, Mariusz Siwiec