July 10, 2023, 18:00
Forum Cinema, 5 Legionowa Street
tickets: 16/18 PLN – available at the Forum cinema’s box office (5 Legionowa Street), BCC/LZC’ box office (19 Warszawska Street) and on bilety.bok.bialystok.pl
film with English subtitles
introduction: Tomasz Kolankiewicz
One of the most important films of the “cinema of moral anxiety”. It raises the problem of the conformity of the Polish intelligentsia. Academic careers are reserved for cynical and unscrupulous people, always ready to compromise with the authorities. The system of connections and coteries inhibits the development of individuality.
Summertime at a student language camp. The head of the camp, Jarosław Kruszyński, is a young assistant professor who treats the camp participants as equals and is fair and objective. He accepts a competition entry from Toruń after the deadline, although he has been told that the deputy rector does not like that research centre. The first conflict ensues.
Jarosław is unable to explain to his students the absence of their colleagues from Toruń. Associate Professor Jakub Szelestowski does it for him, brutally putting an end to any discussion on this topic. The competition continues. A paper by a Toruń student named Raczyk is enthusiastically received by the audience, but garners cold reviews from university teachers. Jarosław is disappointed with this academic conformism and prefers to spend time with his younger colleagues. He particularly likes an English scholarship student, Nelly. However, no closer relationship develops between them. Jarosław is the secretary of the jury and manages to secure an award for Raczyk, but the main prize goes to a mediocre and conventional paper. The deputy rector arrives with his wife and child and voices no protest about the award of honours to a Toruń student’s paper. Sarcastic Associate Professor Jakub describes the deputy rector to Jarosław as a fraud whose dissertation has allegedly been plagiarized. Tension grows. Jarosław wants to confirm this information, but Jakub deftly withdraws his charges. The awards ceremony is interrupted by a drunken Raczyk, who bites the rector on the ear. The latter demands he be removed from the camp. Jarosław tries to mediate, but to no avail. The deputy rector wants to call the police. Jakub mocks Jarosław and his noble intentions. He presents a new version of the rector’s dissertation, which he was forced to write himself. At night, when they are out walking, Jakub deliberately shows Jarosław Nelly having sex with one of the students. Jarosław hits Jakub, who falls to the ground, motionless. For a moment, it seems that he has killed him, but that turns out to be another one of Jakub’s jokes. Jarosław tries to drown him, but he sobers up at the last moment. He lets go of Jakub and leaves. Wet and freezing, Jakub feels the moral nothingness and emptiness of a lost man.