Bitter Violet

Poland – VFX Project – 2016

Marcin Ciastoń (writer)

CCFL 2016

Born in 1980 in Poland, Marcin Ciastoń studied at the Institute of Applied Linguistics, Warsaw University (MA degree in Translation, English and German).  During a gap year in 2002 he studied Public Relations at Uniworld Business College in Sydney.  Since graduation he has worked as a translator and language consultant.  In 2016 Marcin graduated from the Warsaw Film School (Postgraduate Studies in Screenwriting, 2014 – 2016), where he completed a historical crime feature film screenplay set in the 1980s in Poland.  He has also adapted and written three episodes of an Israeli TV show Little Mom – broadcast in Poland as Nie rób scen.


In communist Poland a policeman’s world is turned upside down as he falls for another man, but has to take part in a police operation against homosexuals.   Bitter Violet stems from research  into Operation Hyacinth, which took place in communist Poland between 1985 and 1987.  To this day the authorities claim it was a legitimate preventive action to curb crime in the hermetic gay community, though it is clear it might have been a way for Security Services to target inconvenient citizens and blackmail oppositionists.  Men suspected of homosexuality were brought to police stations all over Poland, were questioned about their private lives, forced to reveal contact details of other gay men and sign a statement confirming their homosexuality.  It is reported that 11,000 “pink files” were collected, but to this day it is uncertain where they might be kept.

Bitter Violet’s hero, Robert, is fascinated by a comic book character – Captain Żbik (Captain Lynx), who was the subject of a police propaganda comic book published in Poland between the 1960s and 1980s.  Having Robert look for a role model in Captain Żbik makes an important statement about his mindset and attitude to work as a police officer.  Animated scenes using comic-book-style images will present his alter ego and connect him with the events on a new level, drawing on the powerful cultural reference of the comic book.