Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Powidoki / Afterimage

Director: Andrzej Wajda
Country: Poland
Year: 2017
Duration: 2.00
Original name: Powidoki
Category: Gems of New Cinema

Film fabularny
Gatunek:     dramatyczny, historyczny, biograficzny
Rok produkcji:     2016
Data premiery:    10 września 2016 (TIFF)
    13 stycznia 2017
Kraj produkcji:     Polska
Język:     polski
Reżyseria:     Andrzej Wajda
Scenariusz:     Andrzej Mularczyk
Główne role:     Bogusław Linda
Muzyka:     Andrzej Panufnik
Zdjęcia:     Paweł Edelman
Scenografia:     Marek Warszewski
Kostiumy     Katarzyna Lewińska
Montaż:     Grażyna Gradoń
Produkcja:     Michał Kwieciński
Wytwórnia:     Akson Studio
Dystrybucja:     Akson Dystrybucja
    Bogusław Linda – Władysław Strzemiński
    Zofia Wichłacz – Hania Borowska
    Bronisława Zamachowska – Nika Strzemińska
    Andrzej Konopka – personalny
    Krzysztof Pieczyński – Julian Przyboś
    Szymon Bobrowski – Włodzimierz Sokorski
    Mariusz Bonaszewski – Madejski
    Aleksander Fabisiak – Rajner
    Irena Melcer – Jadzia
    Tomasz Chodorowski – Tomek
    Filip Gurłacz – Konrad
    Mateusz Rusin – Stefan
    Mateusz Rzeźniczak – Mateusz
    Adrian Zaremba – Wojtek
    Tomasz Włosok – Roman
Midnight Sun Film Festival (MSFF), Sodankylä
DCP with English subtitles viewed at the Big Top with English subtitles, 14 June 2017

MSFF: "We honour the memory of Andrzej Wajda, who died in March at the age of 90, by screening his final work, Afterimage, that ended the Polish giant´s career that spanned over sixty years and almost as many films."

"Afterimage is the most fitting work for Wajda´s testament: a poignant film that touches on Polish history and the relations of art and political power. It is about the fate of an artist and art professor in post-war Llodz, where Wajda studied film at that time."

"Boguslaw Linda plays a coarsely charismatic Wladyslaw Strzeminski, who rose to the front row of Polish art in the 1920´s. The avant-gardist has come to a conflict with the demands of socialist realism and the bureaucrats of the communist party. His students nevertheless continue supporting their target of worship, the teacher that has been injured in the war, even though he is slowly losing everything; his job and apartment, wife, 14-year-old daughter and student-lover. Strzeminski is not a man of compromise!
" (TM)

"ANDRZEJ WAJDA´S (1926–2017) officer-father died in Katyn´s mass murder (of which the son turned into a film in 2008) and in 1942 he joined the Polish resistance movement. After the war he studied painting (his favourite was Paul Cezanne), got into Lodz film school and directed, under the wings of Aleksander Ford, his famous resistance trilogy that culminated in Ashes and Diamonds (1958). His career was productive and influential, and his topics ranged from historic to literary and from romantic to political in such films as Everything for Sale (1968), The Birch-wood (1970), The Promised Land (1974), Man of Marble (1976), Man of Iron (1981) and Danton (1983). Wajda was also a vocal participant in politics and in the Solidarity movement." (MSFF)

AA: Andzej Wajda died in March soon after the premiere of his last film Afterimage. It was a return to form for the Polish master after his previous film Wałęsa. Człowiek z nadziei (2013) which had a strong story but suffered from a leading performance which failed to convey the charisma of the popular leader. There is no such weakness in Bogusław Linda's interpretation as Władysław Strzemiński (1893-1952, name in Belorusian: Уладыслаў Страмінскі). Strzemiński was a leading figure in Polish art, also a rebel and a revolutionary since 1919, during a period when it was truly dangerous. Afterimage is the story of Strzemiński, who had lost an arm and a leg in WWI, struggling more courageously than most against Stalinist tyranny after WWII.

Wajda is at his best in this final film of his. There is a confident intensity in the film from the beginning. Not only the leading role but all the parts have been beautifully cast.

Afterimage rises to the ranks of great films about art, including Painters Painting, Sayat Nova, Andrei Rublyov, Lust for Life, Turner, Le Mystère Picasso, and the documentaries by Alain Resnais and Luciano Emmer. Not forgetting Wajda's own delightful Zaproszenie do wnętrza / Einladung zur Besichtigung / Invito a entrare / Käykää peremmälle (1978), a favourite Wajda film of mine. And also not forgetting Wajda's documentary Idę do słońca / Kuljen kohti aurinkoa / I Walk Towards the Sun (1955) which is not a great film but a still Stalinist-influenced portrait of the sculptor Xawery Dunikowski.

In the early scenes of the film we see Strzemiński slashing a poster of Stalin which obstructs the sunlight to his studio, giving a Van Gogh lecture to a class of enthusiastic students, and challenging the Minister of Culture with his views of art.

Systematic coercion against the war invalid and revolutionary veteran soon starts. He is banished from teaching to his adoring students. An exhibition of modern art and his legendary Neoplastic Room are destroyed. His membership card of the artists' society of which he is a co-founder is torn. As a result he cannot purchase paints and loses his food stamps. He is humbled to become a painter of Stalinist posters, but fired even from this occupation although he is the most highly appreciated even in this task. As an invalid he fails in a final job as a window decorator. His health broken through hunger, he dies of TB at the hospital.

His best friend is the poet Julian Przyboś who admires his integrity. Halina Olomucki does not figure in the film, instead there is the character Róża Saltzman (Maria Semotiuk), determined to rescue Strzemiński's Holocaust collage by taking it with her to Israel.

The main characters in Strzemiński's private life are his daughter Nika, his star pupil Hania Borowska, and his ex-wife, the sculptor Katarzyną Kobro, irrevokably estranged from him, present in the film only via death.

Winged words: "In art and love you can only give what you have". "An artist who cannot speak with a full voice should be silent".

Good visual quality in the DCP projection.

1 comment:

Gabriel said...

Wajda’s fans come together! We invite everyone related to the film industry and more to participate in the great artistic event of Wajda Art! Become a co-publisher of the incredible albums of Andrzej Wajda’s drawings. You’re wondering how the master of Polish film created his great works? Visit our website or Facebook profile and see how you can support us. The crowdfunding websites will start soon!