"The fictional set-up which Nowakowski employs shocked half the world a few years ago," writes Dariusz Nowacki, "I have in mind Benini's film Life Is Beautiful. A loving father wants to protect his young son from the nightmare of the Holocaust, so he makes up and sustains a fictitious 'game of camps'. With Nowakowski it's a similar story, though not as drastic. We see the world after the Second World War, inhabited by muted, maimed castaways. But some people have not succumbed to the depressing atmosphere of the time and place, and the main character's father is one of them. His formula is simple: he mesmerises the boy with stories of a world before the disaster. At the centre of these legends there is the Hotel Empire, an elegant and luxurious caravanserai, for upper-class customers, of course. Life is somewhere else, the father tries to persuade him. Where? In what has passed and is lost irretrievably. The logical conclusion to the story is that the young hero has to find out for himself, empirically, that the world of the Empire is a fiction."