Ręce do góry

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Ręce do góry
Directed byJerzy Skolimowski
Written byJerzy Skolimowski
Andrzej Kostenko
StarringJerzy Skolimowski
CinematographyAndrzej Kostenko
Witold Sobocinski
Edited byGrazyna Jasinska-Wisniarowska
Release date
  • 1981 (1981)
(originally filmed in 1967: withheld by censorship: re-edited with introduction 1981)
Running time
76 minutes

Ręce do góry (known in its subtitled English version as Hands Up!) is a Polish drama film directed by Jerzy Skolimowski. It is the fourth of a series of semi-autobiographical films in which Skolimowski himself plays his alter ego Andrzej Leszczyc.[1] At the time it was banned in Poland, under the Communist regime, for 18 years because it depicted the Stalinist past.[2]

The film was originally made in 1967 in monochrome by pl:Zespół Filmowy Syrena studio. In a 20-minute section (filmed in colour) added by Skolimowski in 1981 he explains how the original was withheld by Polish censors of the time and that this was a principal cause of his leaving his country; however following liberalisation in Poland, he was invited to resuscitate it. The introduction includes, apart from some fictional apocalyptic passages, shots of Beirut ruined by the civil wars of the 1970s, where Skolimowski is working as an actor on Volker Schlöndorff's German film Die Fälschung (Circle of Deceit), and also shots of London featuring demonstrations in favour of Solidarność, Speaker's Corner, and an exhibition of Skolimowski's own paintings. These sections include cameo roles by Bruno Ganz, David Essex, Mike Sarne and others. Some of the music in this introduction is from the 1970 choral work Kosmogonia by the Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki.

The original film is a surrealistic reunion of Leszczyc (who has apparently become a veterinary surgeon) and some of his student colleagues. They refer to themselves by the makes of the cars they own - Leszczyc owns a Zastawa, one owns a Wartburg, the others own more upmarket models such as an Opel Rekord or the Alfa Romeo owned by the unhappily married couple. Supposedly taking speed (although it is later revealed the pills are a placebo), and carousing in the cattle truck of a freight train, the group offers various satirical sidelights on Polish society of the 1960s. The characters also reflect that the truck may have been one of those in which the former generation were transported during World War II to the Nazi death camps.

The final credits show the actors as they are in 1981, with the exception of Bogumił Kobiela, who died in 1969.

The film was screened out of competition at the 1981 Cannes Film Festival.[3]




  1. ^ Jerzy Skolimowski, booklet published by Wydawnictwo Telewizji Kino Polske to accompany DVD release, 2009 (in Polish)
  2. ^ Marek Haltof (2 February 2015). Historical Dictionary of Polish Cinema. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. p. 230. ISBN 978-1-4422-4472-6.
  3. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Hands Up!". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 7 June 2009.