Poland, Russia, Italy


Victor, the Polish ambassador to Uruguay, is pained by the sudden death of his beloved wife. Visiting his home country, he meets with the Russian Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs, Oleg. They had made friends 20 years earlier when Victor was an activist of the political underground and Oleg was a young Soviet diplomat in Poland. Their long-time close friendship is burdened with two suspicions. On the one hand, Victor thinks that Oleg could be delegated by his embassy to infiltrate the Polish political opposition. On the other hand, Oleg's intimate friendship with Victor's deceased wife suggests that the wife may have betrayed Victor with the charming Russian friend. Victor had recommended his young protege, Waldemar, to work with the Polish embassy in Uruguay. Waldemar has a beautiful wife, Oksana, whom he had met in his student years in Russia. Back from the home country, Victor unwittingly transfers some of his feelings for his dead wife onto his new employee's wife. The Polish embassy is working to structure an arms deals, competing against Russians. The deal is very important to Poland. It seems that the embassy may be infiltrated by the Russian intelligence. Victor suspects Oksana. He is frustrated by the situation. As there are no Polish intelligence officers among the staff, Victor undertakes an amateurish investigation. It proves difficult to carry out as an embassy counsellor may be involved in suspect dealings. Waldemar with his lack of experience ends up implicated in a drug trafficking scam. Victor looks for support in Alfred, an Italian ambassador and a long-time friend. These conflicts culminate at the time of an international congress at Montevideo, attended by Oleg as well as a Polish ministerial delegation. The arms deal is at stake. The Russians seems to be in the winning position. Victor sets up a trap and catches Oksana red-handed while she is copying official documentation. She reveals that her purpose is not to help Russian intelligence services but to blackmail her husband if he ever decides to leave her. Alfred's country gets the arms contract. Victor and Oleg meet again. The latter explains that Victor's wife remained faithful. Victor feels overjoyed and free now that all the suspicions are shown to be unfounded.

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Krzysztof Zanussi

Written by: Krzysztof Zanussi

Cinematography: Edward Klosinski

Cast: Zbigniew Zapasiewicz (Wiktor), Nikita Mihkalkov (Oleg), Jerzy Stuhr (councellor), Daniel Olbrychski (vice minister), Andrzej Chyra (Waldemar), Remo Girone (Italian ambassador), Victoria Zinny (Italian ambassador's wife), Maria Bekker (Oksana)

Nominations and Awards

  • Feature Film Selection 2006