An Ordinary Country
Through security service eyes - the archives of the secret services and communist police in Tomasz Wolski's found footage film.
In an interesting reference to the famous "One day in the People's Republic of Poland" by Maciej Drygas, Tomasz Wolski composes his found footage documentary from the archives of the security services and Citizen’s Militia from 1956-1989 achieving a completely new style. He does not avoid humor, but skillfully doses the weight of the materials used. From the wiretap recording of a conversation about getting a purebred dog to the final scene where a man is blackmailed to cooperate for fear of disclosing his extramarital affair, the brutal indiscretion of these once-secret tapes becomes increasingly harrowing. Wolski focuses on the objectifying view of secret-service cameras on Poles' ordinary lives, on the lifting of privacy, as exemplified by instructional films teaching officers how to “document” a lovers’ night in a hotel. They are not balanced by any martyrdom - even those who are dissatisfied with power are reported here from the perspective of a “civic” denunciation. The omnipresent surveillance seems to disgustingly stick everyone in Wolski's film. And perhaps it is society, degraded by surveillance blackmail, that disturbes the viewer most in this film. Therefore, An Ordinary Country looks not only like an extraordinary memory of times happily gone-by, but also as a kind of memento.
Visions du Réel 2020 - Most innovative medium length film
Kraków FF 2020 – Złoty Lajkonik