The Polish series 1983 Netflix, which debuts now on Netflix, follows a line that Quentin Tarantino brilliantly used in his already classic “Inglourious Basterds”: to portray a period of time that really happened but with an alternative reality line. Just as we know that World War II really existed, but the whole story told in the film starring Brad Pitt in 2010 did not happen – it’s just a fanciful version of the facts – the same can apply in this series, the first Polish original production for the Netflix streaming catalog (watch here).
The notion of History here is simple: in the 1980s, Poland was a country involved in the Cold War, and totally linked to the Soviet Union. It was therefore part of the Iron Curtain – an expression used by Winston Churchill to name the boundary dividing Europe into two separate areas. Everyone knows that Poland was one of the first countries to separate from the Soviet Union yoke, triggering the fall of the Iron Curtain. The motto in this series is: what if that had not happened?
Therefore, 1983 Netflix talks about an attack in Poland that year, which interrupted the process of separation between Poland and the Soviet Union, and which triggered a change in history, preventing the fall of the Iron Curtain. Twenty years go by: in 2003, the country is still under Communist rule, the Soviet Union still exists, and the Iron Curtain remains intact. Against this background we have the story of Kajetan, who is a simple law student who ends up discovering an ancient conspiracy to maintain oppression over Poland and the functioning of the communist regime in the country. He has the help of a police investigator named Anatol, who is compliant with the regime and also discredited with his personal and professional life. Together, they must unravel this conspiracy and help liberate Poland from the authoritarianism.
The idea of an alternate reality in this context is sensational. Anyone who has an interest in history, specially about the period known as the Cold War, will fall in love right away, for 1983 speculates on what Poland – a symbolic country of the oppressive communism liberation – would be like if that regime had not fallen. What would the Polish people be if they were still living in a highly authoritarian state subordinated to the policy of the Soviet Union? It is fantastic to look at these consequences in such a realistic way.
In addition, 1983 Netflix is a great suspense story, a well-made thriller. The series was directed by four top exponents of current Polish cinema: Kasia Adamik, Olga Chajdas, Agnieszka Holland and Agnieszka Smoczyńska. Despite having several people in charge, “1983” never loses its rhythm, which proves that these filmmakers were well attuned to each other – because each imposes its style when they are in charge, but never losing sight of the final result, which is quite cohesive.
Dystopia in 1983
1983, therefore, is a dystopia, which imagines Poland as the center of the planet’s politics after the failed attempt, in the respective year that names this work, to withdraw the Soviet Union from the command of the country. The story surrounding the quest for truth by Kajetan and Anatol is frantic, made as an action movie, which captures attention from beginning to end. A magnificent work of script and direction, no doubt.
And this is only the first season. Continuing at this rate, 1983 can be a highlight in Netflix productions in the coming years, as the subject can yield a lot, even in comparison with current and very real situations. It is a great merit of the Polish directors responsible for the production, who never lose sight of the quality and fidelity to this dystopian vision at the time of telling this story, even if it is a false reality.
Trailer and additional information about 1983 Netflix
Synopsis 1: The Party is noble and benevolent. Citizens are prosperous and free. But it is all a monstrous lie.
Synopsis 2: In this dark alt-history thriller, a naïve law student and a world-weary detective uncover a conspiracy that has tyrannized Poland for decades.
Age rating: 16;
Release year: 2018.
1983 Netflix - Review