IDFA - Hours of Glass & One Day in People's Poland
September 27, 1962 was an ordinary day in the Polish People's Republic. We would know very little about what exactly happened in the lives of the country’s 30 million inhabitants on that day, were it not for the meticulous reports produced by police officers, security officials and their informants.
Every incident that suggested the slightest hint of resistance was investigated, and thick dossiers were compiled on the lives of many ordinary people who were suspected of being dissidents. With dates and times accurately recorded, the details of their lives were stored in the Polish archives.Filmmaker Maciej Drygas dug out these files and combined them with inspection reports, news stories, diary entries and letters intercepted by the security services. With these fragments read aloud, he constructs a soundtrack that gives a chronological account of that single day: a random series of events that together bear witness to an obsession with control in a paranoid state.
A montage of archive footage showing life as the Party would have liked it to be—orderly and industrious—is powerfully stripped of its shine.
Hours of Glass
During this screening, One Day in People's Poland will be preceded by the short film Hours of Glass (Michiel van Bakel, 2018).
Apparently floating through the air, the camera travels from Dark Sky Park in Denmark to an abandoned observatory in Istanbul, via the expressionist architecture of the Einstein Tower near Berlin, to arrive at the cyber unit of a telecom company.
The time-lapse filming emphasizes the patience and slowness with which the skies are observed, and human communications are plucked from the air. But the watcher is being watched, and the full-spectrum camera that”s used to do this gives the images an alien glow.
On the soundtrack we hear a sonic interpretation of the cosmic background radiation, the electromagnetic radiation released by the Big Bang. This means we”re listening to the echo of the ultimate metaphysical phenomenon, the beginning of everything.
At the end, however, fragments of dialogue emerge, taken from The Conversation, Francis Ford Coppola”s thriller about a surveillance specialist who records a murder by chance and feels complicit in the deed. Suddenly a single human life becomes as big as the universe.
On the 24th of November with Doc Talk.