The late Andrzej Wajda tells a story of artistic integrity in Afterimage, a biopic about Polish avant-garde painter Wladyslaw Strzeminski.

While he was admired by students, Strzeminski endured a career struggle during the final years of his life when Stain’s Socialism Realism ideology was fully enforced.  However, the frail yet ferocious artist refused to give up on his passion. Adamant to reinforce his own beliefs on abstract expressionism while also building a relationship with his daughter, Strzeminski protests as he watches the remains of his life whither around him.

It’s no surprise that Afterimage is a bleak downer, but it’s well-acted and led by an unforgettably raw performance by Boguslaw Linda as Strzeminski.  The art theory provided by writer/director Andrzej Wajda makes the film resonate on an educational level along with the wonderful pieces shown throughout the film.  It actually breaks our heart when we see curt outsiders threaten them.

An afterthought, of course, but Afterimage also carries a bittersweet, emotional ambience as the audience draws similarities to Wladyslaw Strzeminski’s devotion and Wajda’s final strokes as a filmmaker.

Andrzej Wajda’s Afterimage begins an exclusive run at Toronto’s Art Gallery of Ontario from February 1 (with an introduction by AGO assistant curator Kenneth Brummel) to February 4. Click here for more details and to buy tickets.


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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie

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