In post-war Poland, renowned painter Wladyslaw Strzemiński works as a professor at the National School of Fine Arts in Łódź. A great artist and co-creator of the theory of Unism, Strzemiński became famous before the Second World War. His students still treat him like the “messiah of modern painting”, but university authorities and the Ministry of Culture have a very different opinion. Unlike artists loyal to the doctrines of socialist realism and fulfilling Party tasks, Strzemiński does not compromise his art. He refuses to comply with Party regulations, and he is eventually expelled from the university and the artists' union. But Strzemiński's students continue to support him, visiting him for private lectures. They pen down his Theory of Vision and listen to his critique of their work. But jobless Strzemiński, impaired due to a missing arm and leg, soon falls into poverty and poor health as the Communist authorities remain persistent in their actions to ruin him...

Director's Biography

In 2016, Polish director Andrzej Wajda celebrated his 90th birthday and 65th feature film: AFTERIMAGE. With a career spanning over 60 years, Wajda’s contribution to cinema has been recognized by the Academy Awards (Honorary Oscar in 2000), European Film Awards (Lifetime Achievement, 1990), Berlin Film Festival (Golden Bear for Lifetime Achievement, 2006), and many others. Four of his films have been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film: The Promised Land (1975), The Maids of Wilko (1979), Man of Iron (1981), and Katyń (2007). Man of Iron won the coveted Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Wajda has directed films from many genres, but he began his career with a trilogy of anti-war films: A Generation (1954), Kanał (1957, Cannes - Special Jury Prize) and Ashes and Diamonds (1958). He has made many films set during or dealing with post World War II, including Korczak (1990), a story about a Jewish-Polish doctor who cares for orphan children, Holy Week (1995) specifically on Jewish-Polish relations, and Katyń (2007) about the Katyn massacre, in which Wajda’s own father was murdered. Wajda’s commitment to Poland’s Solidarity movement was manifested in Palme d’Or winner Man of Iron with Solidarity leader Lech Wałęsa appearing as himself. The director’s involvement in this movement would prompt the Polish government to force Wajda’s production company out of business. Three decades later, Wajda made the biopic Walesa, Man of Hope (European Film Awards - FIPRESCI Prize of the Year). Wajda’s other credits include 1983’s post-French Revolution epic Danton, starring Gérard Depardieu, 1980’s The Orchestra Conductor, starring John Gielgud; 1983’s A Love in Germany (1983) featuring Hanna Schygulla, and 1988’s The Possessed (1988) based on Dostoyevsky’s novel. Award-winning director of photography Pawel Edelman has been one of Wajda’s great collaborators. They worked together on several films, including AFTERIMAGE, Walesa Man of Hope, Pan Tadeusz (1999) Sweet Rush (Alfred Bauer Prize at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2009) and Wajda’s 1994 film version of Dostoyevsky’s novel The Idiot. Wajda was born in 1926 in Suwałki, Poland, the son of a school teacher and an army officer. Wajda’s father was murdered by the Soviets in 1940 in what came to be known as the Katyn massacre. In 1942 he joined the Polish resistance and served in the Armia Krajowa. After the war, he studied to be a painter at Kraków’s Academy of Fine Arts before entering the Łódź Film School. After his apprenticeship to director Aleksander Ford, Wajda was given the opportunity to direct his own film: A Generation (1955).Throughout his film career, Wajda has simultaneously worked as a director in theatre. His acclaimed productions include versions of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Antigone and a unique interpretation of Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment.

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Andrzej Wajda

Written by: Andrzej Mularczyk

Produced by: Michał Kwieciński

Cinematography: Pawel Edelman

Editing: Grazyna Gradon

Production Design: Marek Warszewski

Costume Design: Katarzyna Lewi ńska

Make-Up & Hair: Janusz Kaleja

Original Score: Andrzej Panufnik

Sound Design: Marcin Kasiński, Maria Hilarecka, Kacper Habisiak

Cast: Boguslaw Linda (Władysław Strzemiński), Zofia Wichlacz (Hania), Bronislawa Zamachowska (Nika Strzemińska), Krzysztof Pieczynski (Julian Przyboś)

Nominations and Awards

  • Feature Film Selection 2017