450. The Roll-Call – Ryszard Czekala


SUMMARY: A roll call in a concentration camp ends in tragedy when the prisoners begin to defy orders.

WHY IT’S HERE: Ryszard Czekala’s chilling animation ‘The Roll-Call’ depicts life in a concentration camp in a simple, repetitive but extraordinarily effective way. As viewers, we watch the proceedings through the viewpoint of a faceless member of the crowd of prisoners as a tyrannical leader barks orders, pointlessly commanding the prisoners to bow down and get back up over and over again. This seemingly endless string of commands is broken up when one member of the crowd chooses to disobey, an action which leads to further rebellion and, ultimately, mass murder. ‘The Roll-Call’ has the simplest of plots but Czekala brilliantly depicts the dehumanisation of the prisoners, making them seem like a mass of fabric fibres rather than individual human beings. The repetition becomes almost unbearable but the relief we feel at the eventual defiance is tempered by terror and the ultimate fate of the rebels leads us to question what is better – a violent death or a state of living nothingness.


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