Friday, March 7, 2014
Violated Letters (2011) uses extraordinary archival footage of twentieth century Poland to explore daily life under the strictures of an authoritarian society. Intercepted letters, never delivered and recovered decades later, are read aloud in the film, providing a vernacular history of decades of Cold War history and culture from the perspective of ordinary people. The fate of millions of letters is an unsettling example of repression at its most efficient and impersonal. In Poland, a special office stole, opened, and scrutinized personal mail from 1945 to 1989. Carefully chosen excerpts from this correspondence, accompanied by evocative period footage, reflect a time of would-be state control over personal expression.