The year is 1976 in a repressive Poland. Agnieszka (Krystyna Janda), a film school student, wants to make her graduate documentary film about former proletariat hero Mateusz Birkut (Jerzy Radziwiłowicz), a long-forgotten Stakhanovite bricklayer who became a Stalinist hero, in the early days of the Communist revolution. Birkut beat records when he led a 5-man team to lay 30,000 bricks in eight hours but his brilliant career and fame ended suddenly and only to disappear from the record books somewhere in 1952, a victim of the system. A controversial project, charismatic Agnieszka, embarks on her documentary shooting in the then fashionable American cinéma vérité style and through talks with people who knew Birkut and archives of old newsreels found in vaults, Agnieszka discovers the truth about the hero of the time, about the time in which she lives and last but not least - about herself. Agnieszka discloses the bitter truth about the 1950s – the period of Stalinism in Poland.