It is 1955. Tomek Żukowski, aged thirteen and a recent witness to his father's brutal arrest by the security service, is admitted to a scout training camp. At a meeting of the camp participants some youngster smashes a window with a stone. This is considered a provocation and the scouts run after him, except for Tomek who stays put...
He has to account for that later and his name gets displayed on the "black board". A friend informs the staff that Tomek has a 1937 Madagaskar post stamp, and Tomek has to explain himself again. He feels trapped, is tormented by nightmares and at night whispers for his father. One night he and two other boys drag Dominik, an ideologically staunch boy, to the guard's hut to have wine and to listen to the "ideologically hostile" Voice of America radio. The 1956 strikes in Poznań are on the news. Political thaw is imminent. Tomek is a witness to a girl guide's conversation with a man from Warsaw who talks about the party needing to give up a number of its dogmas and to admit to its mistakes. The girl guide, however, remains ideologically unmoved. Tomek's affection for this fanatic communist triggers his mental metamorphosis. He forgets the principles he had learnt at home and the ideals instilled in him by his father. The girl guide calls for the closing of the ranks and for opposing the reformers. Dominik reads a newspaper story about the rehabilitation of political prisoners and commits suicide. Shaken, Tomek offers a self-criticism at a meeting and reveals the details of listening to the foreign radio. Two boys are expelled from the camp as a result, while Tomek gets invited to join the board.
Tomek's father leaves the prison and wants to take him home. The boy, however, speaks a different language. He trusts the girl guide blindly and prays for the counter-revolution to be suppressed. Unexpectedly, the camp gets hurriedly closed down, its participants sent back home. In his train compartment Tomek takes out his Madagaskar stamp...
"I wanted to create a sort of a portrait of my generation. The Stalinist period had left a deep, internal mark on many of us. Yet I did not want 'Dreszcze' to be a purely political picture. My main intention was to make a film about the childhood of myself and my peers, with all the experience you acquired at that time."
"The film events are largely based on my own biography. As a boy, I was at such a scout camp. When writing the screenplay, I referred to the specific, remembered events. The filmed camp is in no way a documentary, however. The plot is closer to fiction than reality. Dreszcze is rather a vision of what could have happened to me - and to any camp member - at that time... My protagonist is good-willed and pure, so it takes some craftiness and sophistication to manipulate him. This is why the girl guide in charge never says 'lie', 'cheat', but says instead 'he needs help', 'he needs care', 'you need to tell the truth' - although the seeming truth involves lying, cheating and informing... Besides, this satanic girl guide leader was cheated, too - she has built her life on a boundless trust in an idea" (Wojciech Marczewski, "Ekran" 1981).
"Marczewski offers a very clear and penetrating study of how the system worked to win young hearts and minds, of the indoctrination methods and the perfidious exploitation of young people's susceptibility to propaganda, of the ways of depriving people of identities and breaking of characters" (Małgorzata Hendrykowska [in:] "Kronika Kinematografii Polskiej" A Chronicle of Polish Film-Making, Poznan 1999)
- Dreszcze / Shivers. Poland, 1981. Written and directed by Wojciech Marczewski. Director of photography: Jerzy Zieliński. Music by: Andrzej Trzaskowski. Production design by: Andrzej Kowalczyk, Barbara Kawecka. Editor: Irena Choryńska. Featuring: Tomasz Hudziec (Tomek Żukowski), Teresa Marczewska (Girl guide), Teresa Sawicka (Mother) and Władysław Kowalski (Father), Marek Kondrat (Tutor), Jerzy Bińczycki (Teacher Cebula), Wiktor Grotowicz (Headmaster), Zdzisław Wardejn (Inspector), Marian Opania (Zbyszek), Bogusław Linda (UB-officer), Ryszard Kotys (Guard), Włodzimierz Musiał, Grzegorz Skurski, Małgorzata Pritulak, Bogdan Koca. Produced by: Zbigniew Tołłoczko, Zespół Filmowy TOR, Wrocław. Color, 35 mm, 3000 m.
- Silver Lions and honorary mention at the 8th Polish Feature Film Festival in Gdańsk for Teresa Marczewska for acting and for Irena Chorynska for montage (1981);
- Silver Bear - Special Jury Award, FIPRESCI Award and CICAE Award at the West Berlin International Film Festival (1982).