Kruk travelled to Limanowa, a small town in the mountains, because she was fascinated by media reports around its swift and fruitful modernisation. However, once the film crew spent a few days on location, it became crystal clear that the official propaganda was selling a slightly different image from what a visitor would see.
Just like in her earlier Season (1971), Kruk opens with establishing shots of the eponymous town from a bird-eye view. The modern shapes of the roofs match what we soon find in the streets. The camera shows neon lights over steel and glass shop windows before eventually revealing an ultra-modernist abstract sculpture in the main square.
With a pinch of cynicism, the director uses the voice-over to mimic the Communist propaganda discourse, insisting that the country must be clean and orderly. She then shows a crowd in traditional peasant outfits dancing in modern, city-like restaurants to culminate with shepherds herding livestock around the contemporary artwork in the town centre.
We quickly realise that although the Communist authorities were able to erect modern buildings, they weren’t so successful when it came to changing local customs and lifestyles.
When Kruk interviews the inhabitants of the town, we discover the absurdity of both the forced modernisation and the false propaganda that was quick to erase from news reports anything that didn’t match the official vision. The irony of the situation isn’t only apparent to the director, but also to her interviewees.
Among other things, we learn that they take great pleasures in seeing the cows messing up the pristine, modernised Communist hygiene in the main square. With the same humour and intelligence, they point to further disparities between their perspective and that from the above.
In the end, the camera returns to its initial bird-eye view to show the town in the middle of a winter freeze. It doesn’t take long for the viewer to read this imagery as an allusion to the frozen minds of the officials feeding the society lies in the hope that reporters like Kruk wouldn’t pass on what they saw on the ground.