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LEAVE NO TRACES (2021, POL) Movie review, plot, trailer, rating

LEAVE NO TRACES (2021) - Police Brutality - HD Trailer - English Subtitles

Another great film based on true events is coming to us from Poland. He was “Leave No Traces” and a Polish Oscar nominee, and “Zeby nie bylo sladów” in the original takes us back to 1983 and introduces us to a horrific and tragic story from the period when the communist authorities there imposed a state of emergency after the Wales Solidarity protest. The young Polish filmmaker Jan P. Matuszynski presented himself in 2016 with the biographical drama “The Last Family” about the Beksinski family, which won him the Discovery of the Year award, and already with this historical drama this talented filmmaker we will hear more about program of the Venice Festival.

Slightly on the trail of films such as those made by Costa Gavras, “Leave No Traces” is one of those great and important political and at the same time personal dramas that deals with real events and real people. Matuszynski decided to deal with the horrific event of 1983, when Polish police beat up graduate Grzegorz Przemyk and the monstrous methods used to cover it up. Grzegorz and his friend Jurek (Tomasz Zietek), who is a few years older, were picked up by the police in broad daylight because they did not have ID cards. Both of them got well on their kidneys at the police station, and only in the way the police know, so that there are no visible traces on the body.

Then they just threw them out on the street, and when Grzegorz later arrived at the hospital, they prepared him for psychiatry because they assumed he was a drunk. After he was released home, Grzegorz died in bed from internal bleeding, and the case was quickly found out by foreign correspondents in Poland and a major scandal ensued. The police beat the young man to death, and now it needs to be somehow covered up and the responsibility transferred to someone else. But the aggravating circumstance for the authorities is that there is a witness ready to reveal everything he saw, and an additional problem is that the unfortunate young man comes from a family of dissidents and members of Solidarity and tens of thousands gathered at his funeral and turned into a spontaneous protest against totalitarian regime.

Instead of convicting a few sadists from the police and shifting responsibility to them, you have now made a complete circus, the state prosecutor who will soon be removed from this case will make a great point, and the whole procedure will soon turn into a horrifying farce. The entire police, military and judicial apparatus of this secret service will be harnessed to shift the responsibility for the young man’s death to someone else, and it is brilliantly shown here how this horrific totalitarian regime on the wane worked. Blackmail, threats, intimidation, fabrication, denunciations, turning family members against each other, all the arsenal of tried and tested methods will be used to make the impossible impossible.

Anything that can be used in one such system to intimidate and stop a key witness will be used, and “Leave no Traces” is a great historical drama that shows in a shocking and horrific way what it looked like when a powerful state apparatus collapses on an ordinary man. The film was shot in a bit of an old-fashioned way and everything was really done at the highest possible level. From actors of exceptional quality (Matuszynski gathered a number of famous actors such as Aleksandra Konieczna, Andrzej Chyra, Tomasz Kot and Robert Wieckiewicz) to top production design and accurate presentation of a particular time, space and historical circumstances. Rating 9/10.


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