The Polish film Interrogation, like so many movies made in the Eastern Bloc under draconian regimes, was banned immediately upon its release. Ryszard Bugajski, who has made it by borrowing money from his friends, resorted to underground distribution of its copies as it got a proper release a good 8 years after it was made. The film remains, to this day, one of the most harrowing portrayals of imprisonment, and the subsequent dehumanizing torture, both psychological and physical, of an innocent victim, by the state police, in order to extract a false but convenient confession; its theme and content remain disturbingly relevant even to this day. The aforementioned victim is Tonia (Krystyna Janda), a promiscuous cabaret-singer who, after binging on alcohol one fateful night, finds herself waking up locked up in a dingy cell with inmates as company and no reasonable explanations forthcoming. From that point on her seemingly carefree life gets irrevocably altered for the worse, with her desperate pleas, over the course of next several years, slowly getting transformed into rebelliousness, civil disobedience, and finally acceptance of what is left of her thoroughly shattered life. Though Janda’s performance seemed a tad over the top in the first one third of the movie, by the time the credits rolled I was left spellbound by her incredible portrayal of her character’s frightening and heartbreaking transformation. Adam Ferency gave a marvelous supporting turn in the complex role of her interrogator with whom, over the years, Tonia develops a strange bond. This unflinchingly bleak and deeply political film remains a devastating account of one of many horror stories in Stalinist Poland.
Director: Ryszard Bugajski
Genre: Drama/Political Drama/Prison Film