Review: Andrzej Wajda’s Vividly Rendered Last Film, ‘Afterimage’

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Boguslaw Linda as Wladyslaw Strzeminski in “Afterimage,” directed by Andrzej Wajda.

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Anna Wloch/Film Movement

In an early scene in “Afterimage,” the artist and theoretician Wladyslaw Strzeminski sits on the floor of his studio as he looks at a canvas. The camera then reverses angles, and viewers see the white canvas suddenly turn vivid red. Indeed, the entire studio is soon suffused with red, because a giant banner celebrating Stalin is being hoisted up the front of the building. Strzeminski crawls over to his window — he lost an arm and a leg from injuries suffered in World War I — and pokes at the banner with one of his crutches, rending the fabric somewhat, which attracts the attention of the apparatchiks in charge of the operation. And so Strzeminski’s latest troubles begin.

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Trailer: ‘Afterimage’

A preview of the film.


By FILM MOVEMENT on Publish Date May 17, 2017.


Image courtesy of Internet Video Archive.

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A committed avant-garde painter who tells his students that art is about an individual way of seeing rather than about rote reproduction of a collectively agreed-upon reality, Strzeminski collides with the latest modes demanded by Stalinist rule. “Afterimage,” the final film directed by the Polish master Andrzej Wajda, who died in 2016 at 90, depicts an appalling system, filled with complicit go-along-to-get-along citizens, grinding down Strzeminski, a real-life figure.

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