Sunday Screening – War Games and The Man Who Stopped Them

Screening June 27, 2010 4:00 PM

This is a story about a man whom historians consider as the most important spy of the Cold War.

A uniquely constructed portrait of the Polish Colonel Ryszard Kukliński, who provided the CIA with more than 40,000 strategic documents from the Warsaw Pact during the Cold War. Was he a traitor, or the savior of Poland?

The Polish documentary filmmaker Dariusz JabÅ‚oÅ„ski begins his story of the colonel in 2004, when he was supposed to interview him for the very first time. It turns out that KukliÅ„ski has just died, and at the request of the colonel’s wheelchair-bound wife, JabÅ‚oÅ„ski agrees to take care of his ashes. 

He talks with a considerable number of closely involved ex-servicemen – from the U.S. head of espionage General William E. Odom to the Warsaw Pact Commander-in-Chief Viktor Kulikov, the Polish General Wojciech Jaruzelski, and former Polish President Lech WaÅ‚Ä™sa. 

These interviews paint a picture of an idealistic man who saved Europe from a Third World War, but who also led a tragic life.

In addition to the extensive archive footage, Jabłoński expounds on the initial meetings in voice-over, which he films with a small, often half-hidden camera. Subsequently, we see the official, tightly-framed interviews, over which he invariably employs an effect that suggests the shadow of Venetian blinds.

Photos of KukliÅ„ski come to life with 3D motion effects, and the recurring theme of a war game calls on the viewer to actively pass judgment on KukliÅ„ski’s choice.

Directed by Dariusz Jabłoński
114 mins
Official website:


War Games and The Man Who Stopped Them will be screening at the Frontline Club in conjunction with the HotDocs Film Festival