“Do you believe in God?” Lt. Moraski asks Tonia when she still refuses to sign a false confession after months of torture and interrogation. She responds, “No.” “Then you have nothing to live for,” he replies. The once beautiful and vibrant cabaret singer, reduced down to her raw determination to live, does not realize God’s hand in sustaining her, even though her captor does.
INTERROGATION tells the story of a woman’s lonely battle for dignity and survival in a political prison. The director and writer, Bugajski, made the film 7 years ago, finishing it three months after martial law was declared in Poland. Banned from release because of what Polish authorities called “inflammatory material”, it was smuggled into Canada by its creator in 1985. The movie, which exploits the political terrors of Poland under martial law during the 1950s, is only now being released in American theaters.
Tonia’s fight with her husband after a performance leads her to a night on the town with two male admirers. The two men are really Security Police who get her drunk and throw her into jail where she is stripped searched. Tonia endures a variety of cruel and unusual punishments. The prison guards beat her, force her to drink urine and threaten her at gunpoint. At one point, Tonia attempts suicide.
The film portrays the cycle of emotions each prison inmate must go through, as they hope for release, resign themselves to suffering and then accept their probable death. They have all been arrested for different “crimes”, but face the same reality: interrogation. Interrogation can only end with confession. “No one leaves without signing,” says one. “And if you don’t have a crime, you make one up.”
The state wants Tonia to falsely implicate a certain colonel in espionage activity with whom she committed adultery. Tonia does not regret her relationship with the colonel and succumbs to adultery again, first with a female inmate and then with Lt. Moraski who is now handling her case.
Moraski commits suicide when Tonia becomes pregnant with his child. Eventually, Tonia is released from prison.
Tonia stands as a poignant example of the human spirit triumphing amidst the most horrific and unjust circumstances. The tragedy lies in the fact that she perseveres without purpose. What reason did she have to go on living? What cause is she willing to suffer and die for?
When you endure suffering for the Lord, God assures us of his blessing. James 1:12 says, “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love him.” Unless Tonia suffered and persevered for the Lord, she suffered and persevered for nothing.
Nudity, lesbianism, adultery, fornication, murder, violence, torture, and suicide