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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Afterimage (Blu-ray)
Afterimage (Blu-ray)
Film Movement // Unrated // October 24, 2017 // Region A
List Price: $39.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Neil Lumbard | posted December 11, 2017 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
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A U D I O
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A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
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Afterimage Blu-ray Review


Afterimage (Powidoki) is the final film
from
acclaimed filmmaker Andrzej Wajda (Ashes and Diamonds, Katyn, Man of
Marble
).
It is a biopic about the acclaimed artist/teacher Wladyslaw
Strzeminski. The film
is executive produced by Malgorzata Fogel-Gabrys (Warsaw '44)
and is produced
by Michal Kwiecinski (Statysci).


Wladyslaw Strzeminski (Boguslaw Linda) is an
acclaimed
artist and teacher who gives classes to art students at a local
university. Strzeminski
is loved by his students for his insights into art and the process of
making
art. However, Strzeminski makes enemies with government officials when
the rule
of the land becomes to register artists and use their art for producing
propaganda
for the state of government.


Although Strzeminski is not opposed to communist
views, he
doesn't view art as something that should be expressed through a
required political
landscape. Art, in his view, should be personal and express that of the
artist
alone. The government propaganda of art is not true to what art is
about.


This viewpoint leads him into
trouble with government officials in his country. Some of these
government
officials attempt to ruin his career as professor and a letter is sent
to his
university. He loses his job as a result of speaking out against the
new
government policies). He starts to struggle to afford meals for himself
and for
his young teenage daughter Nika Strzeminski (Bronislawa Zamachowska).
Some
students still go to see him outside of class to gain his insights into
art but
Strzeminski struggles to keep himself afloat at each turn.


Almost no one around him wants to
hire him or work with him because of his outspoken views on the life of
a
artist causing issues with the government. This leads him directly into
a life
of poverty in which he cannot afford rent and barely gets by. Artists,
who are
required now to become "registered" with the government, are now only
to do approved art that fits the government's ideologies. As a result
of these
changes, Strzeminski can't even buy any paint or supplies at his local
art
store anymore as he is not given an "ID" registering him as an
approved artist.


One of his students, Hania (Zofia Wichlacz), is a
secret
admirer in love with Strzeminski. When she finally confesses her secret
admirations for him Strzeminski rejects her and her affection for him.
He has a
bad relationship with his ex-wife and is bitter about his life and it's
trajectory. The young student soon finds herself in trouble as she
started
rebelling against the government by keeping a typewriter. Strzeminski
is given
an offer for a second chance at having a life as an artist if he'll
work with
the government and give information on her and some of his other
ex-students,
but he declines.


The film is certainly a critique
on a period of time in which free speech and artistic freedom was
infringed
upon by Stalinist government. Andrzej Wajda, as a director, was
certainly no
stranger to these types of problems in his career. His films were
frequently
critiqued by censors in his home country's government for their
political views
and for his outspoken views. Some of his features were even banned in
his
country for a period of time because of their political nature. (This
issue is explored
further in the documentary film Wajda by Wajda which is
included as a
bonus feature on this release.)


The film is a deeply humanistic
and personal film by Andrzej Wajda. It makes it a fitting swan song for
Poland's most beloved filmmaker. The film's empathetic view of the
characters
and exploration of the importance of freedom of speech and the rights
of
artistic expression make Afterimage a rich, rewarding, and
compassionate
experience.  


The cinematography by Pawel
Edelman (The Pianist, Ray) is breathtaking and
absorbing. This
film has a unique and visually wondrous style to it which is enhanced
by
Edelman's striking photography. Several moments throughout the film
feel like
striking works of singular art.


The score by Andrzej Panufnik (Strachy, Drzewa)
is melancholic and it often feels like a quiet backdrop to the events
of the
story. However, it certainly enhances the mood and atmosphere. style=""> The production design by Marek Warszewski (The
Fastest
, Playground) feels effective at establishing the
period in
which the story takes place. The costumes designed by Katarzyna
Lewinska (The
Lure
, In Darkness) capably fit the characters and setting.


The screenplay was written by Andrzej Mularcyk (Katyn,
Our Folks) from an idea by Wajda. The storytelling is excellent
and rewarding
in its approach to telling the story of these characters. Andrzej
Wajda's
direction impresses with elegance and strong pacing. The filmmaking
style is minimalistic
and more realistic in its approach. This helps the dramatics unfold in
a way
that is quietly affecting. Wajda's strength is in bringing a sincerity
and
depth to this story. With a great cast, including the remarkable
Boguslaw Linda,
Afterimage succeeds at being a great drama that tells an
important
story.


The Blu-ray:style="">


style="margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; text-align: center;" align="center">style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">


Video:


Afterimage arrives on Blu-ray with a 1080p
MPEG-4 AVC
encoded high definition presentation in the original 2.35:1 widescreen
theatrical aspect ratio. This is a strong high definition encode which
has
great color depth, clarity, and detail. The image is sharp and pleasing
throughout.


Audio:


The release is presented in the
original Polish language with 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. English
subtitles are
provided. This is a crisp, clean, and engaging surround sound
presentation.
Though the film is dialogue heavy and has a more minimalistic surround
sound
design the surrounds are effectively used for occasional ambiance and
for the
score music by Andrzej Panufnik. It's an impressive lossless
presentation of
the film.


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">


Extras:


style="">Please Note: This release is a combo pack release
including a
Blu-ray + DVD.


Audio Commentary on the feature film by
professor
Emeritus Stuart Liebman


Wajda by Wajda (HD, 95 min.) is a feature
length
documentary in which the filmmaker explores his filmography with
personal
insights into his process, experiences, and the symbolism in his films
from
throughout his entire career. This excellent documentary is a must-see
for anyone interested in the filmmaker.


Afterimage Theatrical Trailer (HD)


Lastly, trailers for other Film Movement releases
are also
provided.


Final Thoughts:


Afterimage is a rewarding and humanistic
drama which
is well worth exploration by those with an appreciation for great
cinema. As Andrzej
Wajda's final film before his passing, it's a great final work of art
from a
beloved filmmaker. The film tells an important story and it's themes
certainly
remain important for discussion by all those fascinated by the world of
art.


Highly Recommended.



Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema. He aspires to make movies and has written two screenplays on spec. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.

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