Close Up

28 September 2010: Hear my Cry + State of Weightlessness


Maciej J. Drygas, one of the most important Polish documentary filmmakers, will attend a screening of two of his films followed by Q&A session. Drygas's films aim to reconstruct ordinary life under Soviet rule. He likens his method to that of an archaeologist, spending most of his time in obscure archives, researching for documents of the suppressed memories of that time.

Hear my Cry
Maciej J. Drygas
1991 | 46 min | B/W | Digital

Ryszard Siwiec immolated himself at the harvest festival at the Warsaw Stadium Dziesieciolecie in 1968 in protest against Communist totalitarism and the Warsaw Pact intervention in Czechoslovakia. Although witnessed by thousands of people this event was never made public. It only exists in the memory of those who witnessed it and seven seconds of film footage captured by a newsreel crew which was covering the festival. Virtually, his sacrifice never took place. Through conversations with eye witnesses and Siwiec’s family members, Drygas documents the double nature of this tragedy: the motivations for the self-sacrifice of an uncompromising man, and why his protest was silenced Guzmán.

State of Weightlessness
Maciej J. Drygas
1994 | 57 min | Colour | Digital

When the Soviet empire was still competing with the West to prove its supremacy through technological and scientific progress, to go into outer space was not only a dream come true for Russian cosmonauts but also the symbol of a national pride that would justify the most demanding training conditions. Through interviews with cosmonauts, scientists, physicians, surviving family members, medical experiment participants and archival footage, Drygas shows the darkest realities of the programmes that cosmonauts had to endure. Lives were disposable for the good of the state and the "number of disasters did not matter".

Maciej J. Drygas graduated from the Film Directing Department of the Moscow All-Russian State Institute of Cinematography in 1981, was assistant director for Krzysztof KieĊ›lowski and at present is Head of the Radio Documentary Department in the Laboratory of Reportage at Warsaw University.