Contemporary World Cinema | 2016 | 100 minutes

SIFF Says:

Art is freedom. As Stalin rose to power, freedom was under attack; art was under attack. Afterimage, director Andrzej Wajda’s final film, follows the story of Wladyslaw Strzeminski (Boguslaw Linda), the most important Polish painter of the 20th century. World War I left him with a missing arm and leg, but this didn’t keep him from pursuing art. Strzeminski’s avant-garde paintings and sculptures were unlike anything of their time―abstract and playful, yet sophisticated. People recognized this, and his art became successful internationally. At the peak of his career, Stalin came to power, ordering all art to be objectified, serving as Soviet propaganda. Afterimage is a heartbreaking yet hopeful story of resilience. Its affecting score, by Polish composer Andrzej Panufnik, offers a glimpse into the emotions of those living in desperation, clinging to any amount of faith. The miserable, gray environment contrasts with the artist’s whimsical creations, reminding us that without art, life is joyless. Wajda passed away last October, at 90, shortly after his film’s release. Strzeminski’s story is one he had always wanted to tell―and he told it beautifully, allowing others to live it. Afterimage reminds us of the prolific careers of two artists.

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Film Credits
Andrzej Wajda
Boguslaw Linda, Bronislawa Zamachowska, Zofia Wichlacz
SIFF 2017