Joanna is a sixty-year-old professor of a renowned Krakow university, a biologist and daughter of a famous pre-war politician. She is petite but full of energy, and she trusts people. Jan is a mathematician, the mainstay of the family, solid and caring, a keen debater and wit. They have been living together happily as a couple for many years. Their life has had its ups and downs, but they have survived supporting and respecting each other, and being respected by others in turn. Until one day an anonymously delivered birthday present for Joanna reveals a dark secret about their past. The scratch în their relationship is Jan’s supposed collaboration with secret police, which started in the 1950s and consisted of informing on Joanna’s father. Suddenly Joanna finds her life scattered into pieces.
“This is not a political film. I observe people rather than mechanisms. I am telling the story because I wish to understand rather than give my verdict; understand Jan: a good father and faithful husband, a moralist keeping his distance from the world, and yet perhaps an informer and conformist; understand Joanna: a lady and a fulfilled scientist, and yet a woman who decides to humiliate the closest person on the barest evidence. I am asking what scales we would need to balance, on the one hand, thirty years of good life together, and on the other, a suspicion that one is lying and being disloyal. I am asking what to do with doubts that rise in us and grow like a rolling snowball, gathering everything around us, to the point that we can no longer do anything about it.”