Leave No Traces
Based on a real-life case in Communist-era Poland, Jan P. Matuszyński’s riveting film details how far a state will go to protect itself.
It’s 1983 and in the middle of Warsaw Grzegorz (Mateusz Górski) and Jurek (Tomasz Ziętek) are celebrating the end of school. Two police officers stop them and inexplicably demand to see Grzegorz’s ID. The sone of an activist, Grzegorz knows his rights and refuses. The two are arrested and taken to a police station where Grzegorz is beaten and subsequently dies. Jurek witnesses everything. And the remainder of the film shows how far government agencies are willing to go to save face. As Jurek remains adamant in his version of the events, the scale of the operation to silence him grows.
The crime Matuszyński documents took place almost 40 years ago. But his film is clearly aimed at contemporary society. Without checks and balances, ordinary people are subject to the whims of the state and its security forces. Leave No Traces chillingly shows how an act that is clearly wrong, carried out by members of a system that has no oversight, can mestasize into a cover-up that reaches the highest levels of power.