Short Working Day

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Short Working Day
Short Working Day Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byKrzysztof Kieślowski
Produced byJacek Szeligowski
Written byHanna Krall
Krzysztof Kieślowski
StarringWacław Ulewicz [pl]
Lech Grzmociński [pl]
Music byJan Kanty Pawluśkiewicz
CinematographyKrzysztof Pakulski
Edited byElzbieta Kurkowska
Polish Television
Release date
Running time
79 minutes

Short Working Day (Polish: Krótki dzień pracy) is a Polish film directed by Krzysztof Kieślowski. Written by Kieślowski and Hanna Krall, the film is about the workers protests in June '76 in Radom, as seen from the perspective of the local Secretary of the Polish United Workers' Party.[1] The film is based on real events, but the characters are fictional. Short Working Day was filmed in 1981, but had its official premiere on television only in 1996. During these 15 years, however, it was shown many times in film clubs and at special movie show-times.[2]


In 1968, a young man addresses a meeting of protesters by condemning the firebrands who are agitating the students. Eight years later, in Radom, Poland during the June 1976 protests, the young man is now the local First Secretary of the Communist Party (Wenceslaus Ulewicz). He is facing a mob of strikers protesting a 69 percent increase in food prices by the central government. Demonstrations in the industrial towns of Radom and Plock quickly lead to the beating and firing of thousands of workers. The party secretary tries to appease the crowds of workers massing beneath his window. Despite the growing threat, he decides to stick it out at the party's office instead of making the recommended hasty escape.

While the protesters become increasingly hostile in their calls for a repeal of the price increases, the party secretary remains strong outwardly in his speeches. With bullhorn in hand, he believes he can talk and reason with the protesters. When he is alone, however, he seems lost in his private thoughts and fears. As the morning passes, the secretary becomes increasingly vulnerable because the central government refuses to yield to the protesters' demands. By the afternoon, the party secretary finally yields to the police chief's orders that he leave his office. As the secretary exits the building, the protesters set fire to his office furniture.

Five years later, the same secretary is on television explaining his actions during the June 1976 protests.



  1. ^ "Krótki dzien pracy". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved April 3, 2012. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  2. ^ Kieślowski, Krzysztof (1998). Stok, Danusia (ed.). Kieślowski on Kieślowski. London: Faber and Faber. p. 252.
  • Insdorf, Annette (1999). Double Lives, Second Chances: The Cinema of Krzysztof Kieślowski. New York: Hyperion. ISBN 0786865628.
  • Kieślowski, Krzysztof (1998). Stok, Danusia (ed.). Kieślowski on Kieślowski. London: Faber and Faber. ISBN 0571173284.

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