A New Film Depicts One Man Standing
Against Soviet Communism
Now here's an opening scene you will not
see any time soon in a mainstream American film. First, darkness and silence. Next,
the creak of a rusted metal door crashing open. A sliver of dirty light sighs
across a filthy floor. Amidst what might be stains of blood, urine or feces on
this concrete floor is the emaciated body of a naked man. His flesh, the floor,
the light, all are sepia-toned, as if in a time-yellowed painting by an old
master. This is not a crucifixion portrait; the man is horizontal on the bare
floor, not vertical on a cross, but clearly, he is being martyred. The man's
head rises from his arm, which he had been using as a pillow. He gasps for air.
He blinks. He has been in darkness so long that light, a gift of which he has
apparently been deprived for a long time, is more than he can take. He shields
his eyes. He looks down.
Two thugs drag the naked form down a
dark hall. In the distance, there are muffled screams. The naked man's flaccid
form is handcuffed to a wooden slab. A bucket of cold water splashes over him.
Another man, this one faux jolly and wearing an ostentatious coat with wide,
shearling lapels, greets his victim. The smiling interrogator in the pimp coat
asks for information. The handcuffed man says nothing. The interrogator tells
the two thugs, "Manicure." A thug turns to a table well-stocked with
tools. A door closes. Wrenching screams.
The man receiving the "manicure"
is Antoni Baraniak (portrayed here by actor Artur Krajewski.) Baraniak was a
Polish, Catholic bishop. His torturers were communists.