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Poland, 1981 (MIFF 1988)

Director: Jerzy Domaredski

Shot in 1981, The Big Race was understandably shelved during martial law, being an extremely frank criticism of Communism in Poland in the early 50s. As scripted by Feliks Falk, it's a relentless and very witty catalogue of corruption, cosmetics and ineptitude. The scene is a Peace Run. Under glowering portraits of Stalin and Beirut, young amateur runners, each hand picked to represent his firm, prepare to face the insane demands on them. The race becomes a political battleground in which conflicting forces argue the merits - and seek to enhance the fortunes - of contestants on grounds other than simply their athletic ability.

"In our time, people's enthusiasm, trust and innocence have been ruthlessly manipulated, and despite changes, we still often repeat old errors In The Big Race young people fear for their parents, whose experiences cast a shadow over the lives of the heroes.

I wouldn't want the film to serve as a pretext for long drawn-out arguments over what the true shape of the past was And I don't claim that it tells the whole truth about the period Would that ever be possible' I think it's more important that the film should confront viewers with one fundamental question can we watch The Big Race fully convinced that what makes us laugh or arouses our indignation does not concern us all" - Jerzy Domaradzki

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