Robotnicy '80 (1981)

Genres - Culture & Society  |   Sub-Genres - Politics & Government, Social Issues  |   Run Time - 92 min.  |   Countries - Poland  |  
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Students in the Polish Film School decided, apparently on the spur of the moment - to make this documentary on the workers' strike in Gdansk in the summer of 1979. The scene is set with footage of the shipyards and events up to that moment, opening with the firing of a woman who had worked for 30 years for the shipyards, then the students interview the leading protagonists in the negotiations between the union and the government, primarily Lech Walesa and Deputy Prime Minister Mieczyslaw Jagielski. Interviews are mixed with live footage of the negotiations themselves, taken on three different meeting periods in late August. As the two sides grapple with the issues and strive to reach some sort of an accord, the documentary captures the emotional, personal elements that are never distant from the table. On one Sunday, a holiday from the meetings, the camera recorded the regular routine of the strikers around the docks and also some extra Sunday worship services in the yard itself. For viewers interested in the precise history of these historic moments in Poland, Workers '80 should be particularly interesting.