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Hear My Cry - Maciej Drygas

Ryszard Siwiec in archival footage, from the film "Hear my Cry".

The story of Ryszard Siwiec, a clerk from Przemyśl, who commited siucide in September 1968 in protest against Poland's participation in the Soviet intervention in Czechoslovakia. 

On September 8, 1968, during a harvest festival at the Stadion Dziesięciolecia (10th Anniversary Stadium) in Warsaw, in front of thousands of people, Siwiec poured gasoline over himself and lit it in protest against the communist totalitarianism and the entrance of Warsaw Pact forces into Czechoslovakia.

Severely burned, Siwiec was transferred to the hospital where he died. His sacrifice passed unnoticed. His name did not appear on the front pages of neither Polish, nor western papers. After many years, the creator of the film, on the basis of the preserved documents, confessions of relatives and eyewitnesses of the event tries to find out who Ryszard Siwiec was and the cause of his readiness to do such a terrible thing. The film ends in a shocking seven-seconds-long archive fragment that shows the "human torch".

Paweł Mossakowski writes in Gazeta Wyborcza, 

Out of a very scarce material Maciej Drygas made a terrific, shocking film. A film that is not only a tribute to a rebellious man, but also a complement to the meaning of his sacrifice. It is only now that this imploring appeal 'hear my cry' can be answered.


  • "Usłyszcie mój krzyk" / "Hear My Cry" Director and screenplay: Maciej J. Drygas. Cinematography: Stanisław Śliskowski. Music: Paweł Szymański "III Partita", Music edit: Anna Iżykowska-Mironowicz. Sound: Andrzej Żabicki. Editing: Dorota Wardeszkiewicz. Production management: Zbigniew Grefkowicz. Production: Studio Filmowe Logos, Zespół Filmowy Zodiak. 1991, black & white, 46 min.


  • Felix - European Film Award - for best documentary, 1991;
  • Silver Dragon at the Cracow Festival of Documentaries and Short Films, 1991;
  • Main Award at the Media Festival "Man under Threat" in Łódź, 1991;
  • Andrzej Munk Award - awarded by the Film School in Łódź, 1991;
  • Silver Sesterce at the International Documentary Film Festival in Nyon, 1991;
  • Grand Prix at the International Documentary Film Festival in Melbourne, 1991;
  • Golden Gate Award at the International Film Festival in San Francisco, 1991.

Source: the catalogue "Young Polish Cinema", published by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, June 2007

Tags: maciej drygaspolish documentaryHear My Cry

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