The film tells the story of a scandal that erupts in a small town in Poland, offering a metaphor for how individuals and nations shape memory and history to fit their own identity as victim or hero. Scandal in Ivansk explores how memories are sculpted and who are these sculptors of history. The film asks sensitive questions of both Poles and Jews, about how the heroic or proud moments in their nation’s past are synthesized with the dark stains that they wish to forget.
The 78-minute documentary explores these questions about the politics of memory and how it is manipulated to fit the moral code of society, told through the backdrop of a group of Jewish descendants from a small shtetl in Poland attempting to restore the old Jewish cemetery. In the process, a front-page scandal breaks out when certain memories etched onto the memorial plaque collide with those of the local residents offering a glimpse into a national discourse that is taking place throughout Poland and Europe today.