Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Death and Betrayal in Poland

Last Sunday night, Jessica and I attended the final film of the Ann Arbor Polish Film Festival , a screening of the documentary Trzech Kumpli (“Three Buddies”). The film, directed by Ewa Stankiewicz and Anna Ferens, tells the story of three college friends—Stanislaw Pyjas, Leszek Maleszka, and Bronisław Wildstein--during the late 70s in Poland. While his friends were unaware, Maleszka was working as an informant for the secret police (and also informed on the poet Adam Zagajewski, among others). The film explores whether Maleszka's denunciation led to the murder of Pyjas thirty years ago.

What is forgiveness and is it possible to forgive someone who is unrepentant? Can a nation heal when it ignores the past or must all collaborators be exposed? These difficult questions were addressed by the film and were also discussed during a spirited discussion between the filmmakers and members of the audience following the screening.

(The film is particularly relevant in light of the recent allegations suggesting that Czech writer Milan Kundera had informed on the whereabouts of Miroslav Dvoracek--who was captured and imprisoned for over a decade--during Kundera's days as a student.)

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