'Manhunt' is a story about betrayal and revenge, about guilt, punishment, the sense of honor and faithfullness. There is no martyrological pathos monumental heroism. – says Marcin Krzyształowicz, a screenwriter and director, who promises to the audience the ending, which they will not be able to predict.
It is late autumn 1943. A small sabotage team of the Resistance, ridden with disease and hunger, vegetates in the damp, autumnal woods, waiting for the next call to action. Their task is to coordinate difficult military actions, particularly the assassination of Nazis and their sympathisers. They are partisans devoted to special ops, only they are in need of some special operations themselves.
One of the soldiers of the unit, Corporal Otter, is ordered to kidnap a man from a nearby village, the informer Kondolevich. Otter is a specialist in carrying out death sentences on Germans and traitors, and Kondolevich turns out to be his old school mate. Having brought the informer to the woods, Otter discovers that his whole squad has been massacred, their throats slit. Otter is shaken by the sight, and Kondolevich takes advantage of the situation and escapes, only to die a few moments later. From this moment we slowly uncover the mystery behind the deaths of the partisans, the plot being told in a retrospective manner through the stories of a few main characters. They are: Lieutenant BLACK – the unit leader dying of tuberculosis; the informer KONDOLEVICH and his WIFE, the latter who was once romantically involved with Corporal Otter, and lastly ADDER, the partisan squadron’s nurse, who did not hesitate to betray her unit in order to save her sister’s life. Each one of these characters has an influence on the tragic fate of the unit, and Corporal Otter is the only one who can uncover the truth behind the tragedy. These main characters all have links to each other, links that are strong and intricate. Every event in this story has a meaning and an underlying psychological sense. This story is a harrowing tale of betrayal and revenge, of morality and guilt, punishment and a sense of honour and loyalty.
As the filmmakers say, the complicated plot shows the real nature ofthe German occupation in Poland from the perspective of a guerilla soldier, who must fight not only Germans, but also the traitors in the Polish army, and – what is more difficult – with his own, dark past. Marcin Dorociński, the winner of the best actor award at the latest Festival of Polish Feature Films, who plays the main part, assures: „Manhunt" is an unusual story about the strength and weakness of character of ordinary people. Marcin Krzyształowicz’s screenplay is very inspiring, it easily triggered my imagination.
If Shakespeare had lived in the modern times – he would probably have set the action of “Titus Andronicus”, his most bloody play in the mountains of Yugoslavia, or in the Kielce district or the Sądecki district – because it would have been known, that during the years 1943-44 on these territories the apogee of the most bloody war in the history of the world was taking place. And while in the public opinion other places-symbols, i.e.: Omaha Beach, Monte Cassino or Kursk, have been ascribed with the military significance, I think, that for Shakespeare the thick beech forest near Sącz, would be the place worth of being given a literary immortality. Why? Because in this forest a massacre was taking place, which scoffed at the Geveva Conventions and the rules of honor. It took a shape of a primal carnage, where the only commandment was: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth... This is how a war from some bloody legends and ancient stories could look like, and this is how the guerrilla warfare of the last world war really looked like.