Synopsis by Michael Betzold
One of the first films by Polish director Agnieszka Holland to gain international acclaim, this drama is a joint French-American production based loosely on the real-life story of the dissident Polish priest Jerzy Popieluszko. In the early 1980s, as the democracy and labor movement known as Solidarity was challenging Soviet authority in Poland, an outspoken priest, Father Alek (Christopher Lambert), defies martial law and continues to rally followers around the cause of Solidarity. The Soviet-controlled Polish government enlists a police official, Stefan (Ed Harris), to stop the priest. Stefan, a devoted party follower, finds that the only way he can silence Father Alek is to have him killed. Along the way, however, the priest has a profound influence on Stefan. Among those in minor roles are Joanne Whalley-Kilmer, Pete Postlethwaite, and Tim Roth. Holland would go on to direct The Secret Garden and Washington Square.
activism, one-against-odds, priest, secret-police