LEAVE NO TRACES
Poland, France, Czech Republic, 2021, 160′, feature film
Poland, 1983. Martial law, imposed by the communist authorities to suppress the Solidarity opposition, is still in force in the country, despite its suspension. On 12 May, Grzegorz Przemyk, the son of opposition poet Barbara Sadowska, is arrested and severely beaten by a police patrol. Przemyk dies after two days of agony. The only witness to the fatal beating is one of Grzegorz’s colleagues, Jurek Popiel, who decides to fight for justice and give evidence against the police. At first, the state apparatus, including the Ministry of Internal Affairs, downplays the case. However, when more than 20,000 people march through the streets of Warsaw behind Przemyk’s coffin, the authorities decide to use all the tools against the witness and the dead man’s mother to discredit them and prevent Jurek from testifying in court. The operation “Junior” begins, supervised personally by the Minister of Internal Affairs, General Czeslaw Kiszczak. Its main goal is to stop Jurek from revealing the truth and to blame the paramedics who transported Przemyk to the emergency room after the beating.
An army of secret police officers starts to follow Jurek and his parents, invigilating their private life 24 hours a day, while the media and the prosecutor’s office are directed and pressured by the authorities so that only the “right” messages reach the public. Barbara Sadowska, on the other hand, does not lose hope for justice, while representatives of the state authorities and a special group of investigators hold successive meetings on how to turn the case of Przemyk upside down…