Vera and Marcel, brother and sister. Marcel, film director. They sit together around a table. They do so to recollect and remember Tonia, the mother of the siblings, a woman who was in jail and a woman who was filmed by Marcel when he was at film school. The mother was arrested in 1949 for spying against the communist regime, performing bourgeois behaviour, with relations to the notorious American spy Noel Field. She was in jail for more than 5 years, leaving her children to be in children homes.
The set-up by Marcel Lozinski gives the viewer a very emotional journey through the childhood of Vera and Marcel. Their story is told through them reading letters from their mother, texts from investigation papers, accompanied by photos from the family and clips from the footage of Lozinski.
It is all held in a very controlled style with close-ups of the three, with the faces expressing emotions to what is being read and talked about. Was she guilty, Tonia, is not the main issue, she felt guilty and did not want to be released from the jail where she went through terrible torture, described in details in writing. She came out and the son and the daughter remember differently, how they met her. It is a painful journey in memories for the two, who also have had a complicated relationship as grown-ups.
Marcel Lozinski, it is revealed, has in many ways a similar story as the two, he mirrors himself in the story, it seems, in a film that is masterly done, tense and precise, letting emotions come out but never trying to add effects to enlarge the drama.
Poland, 2011, 58 mins. (in National Competition in Krakow Film Festival 2011)