Andrzej Wajda, Afterimage (film still), 2016
with an introduction by Kenneth Brummel, Assistant Curator, Modern Art, Art Gallery of Ontario
Directed by Andrzej Wajda
2016, 1h, 38 min. in Polish with English subtitles.
The final film directed by the Polish master Andrzej Wajda, Afterimage tells the story of avant-garde painter Władysław Strzemiński (1893-1952) and his efforts to resist the socialist realism being ruthlessly enforced by Communist regime in the post-war Poland. Strzemiński thrived in the early 20th century as a leader of the Soviet-spawned Constructivist avant-garde movement. The film concentrates on the embattled last four years of his life, starting with his vocal rejection of the Stalinist crackdown on abstract, formalist art in favour of a strict code of socialist realist propaganda. The tragic consequences of a struggle for artistic freedom in the totalitarian system of power unfold slowly at first, but gradually lead a charismatic, defiant man into the abyss.
“A tribute from one dissident artist to another” — LA Times
“Afterimage blazes with energy, passion, and controlled fury as it follows the life of a man who refuses to bend to official ideology, even when it threatens his very existence.” — Piers Handling, TIFF