ANDRZEJ WAJDA'S "AFTERIMAGE" SELECTED AS POLAND'S OSCAR CANDIDATE
The Oscar Committee comprised of members of the Polish film industry and the Polish Film Institute, including Sławomir Idziak, Agnieszka Holland, Anna Biedrzycka-Sheppard, Ola Maślik, Jacek Bromski, Jakub Duszyński, Paweł Mykietyn, Magdalena Sroka, and Katarzyna Mazurkiewicz has selected Powidoki (Afterimage), the latest film by Andrzej Wajda, to be Poland’s candidate for this year’s Academy Awards in the Best Foreign Language Film category.
In a statement released following the decision, the Oscar Committee states:
“Following a long and fascinating discussion, with a majority vote and with acknowledged separate vote of some members of the Committee, the Oscar Committee has selected Andrzej Wajda’s feature Powidoki (Afterimage) to be Poland’s Oscar candidate.
Whereas members of the Academy have a high regard for the ideals of civil liberties and freedom, Powidoki (Afterimage) stands a good chance of winning the Academy’s favour. Andrzej Wajda’s most recent film is a touching universal story about the destruction of an individual by totalitarianism. The director has shown us a world in which beauty, art, and artistic integrity are persecuted.
Andrzej Wajda has always had a unique take on his protagonists and their personal stories. By placing man in the spotlight, Wajda does not shirk from thoroughly analysing his complex relationship with a world that often violently interferes in his life. In this day, it is worth remembering to appreciate those who consistently and with great integrity are able to portray the human condition in man’s personal, intimate space, but also in confrontation with the menacing surroundings.
As a filmmaker, Andrzej Wajda is held in high regard by members of the Academy; he has received the Lifetime Achievement Academy Award, and four of his films have been nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Foreign Language Film category. Powidoki (Afterimage) has stunning cinematography by Paweł Edelman and features an excellent turn by Bogusław Linda as Władysław Strzemiński. In our opinion, Andrzej Wajda’s Powidoki (Afterimage) will best represent Polish cinema in this year’s highly competitive Oscar run.”
Powidoki (Afterimage) follows the story of Władysław Strzemiński, an artist who battled socialist realism and suffered terrible consequences of his artistic choices. The film stars Bogusław Linda, with supporting performances by Bronisława Zamachowska, Zofia Wichłacz, and Krzysztof Pieczyński. The film was written by Andrzej Mularczyk and lensed by Paweł Edelman. Powidoki (Afterimage) was produced by Akson Studio, co-produced by the National Audiovisual Institute, Telewizja Polska, EC1 Łódź – Miasto Kultury and Fundacja Tumult, as well as co-financed by the Polish Film Institute.
The film had its world premiere at the 41st Toronto Film Festival, screening in the Masters section alongside films by such acclaimed directors as Wim Wenders, Cristian Mungiu, Carlos Saura, Pedro Almodóvar, Kim Ki-Duk, and the Dardenne brothers. Andrzej Wajda’s latest film was warmly received in Toronto by audiences and film critics alike. The film is currently on the festival circuit, with upcoming screenings at several prestigious international film festivals, including Chicago, Rome, and Busan. World sales are handled by Films Boutique.
The 41st Gdynia Film Festival featured a special preview screening of the film in Poland. Distribution in Poland is handled by Akson Dystrybucja.
Following the Toronto screening, the first reviews of the film were published in the international press. A review in “The Economist” states that at the age of 90 Andrzej Wajda made a touching work of art. “The film, shot by Pawel Edelman […], is a haunting depiction of a tragic life. Pictures are smashed; so are illusions.”
In “The Hollywood Reporter,” one of the world’s most prestigious film magazines, Stephen Dalton writes: “The veteran Jedi master of Polish cinema, Andrzej Wajda revisits another bitter episode from his homeland’s brutal history in Afterimage. His subject this time is the avant-garde painter Wladyslaw Strzeminski, a martyr to philistine Stalinist orthodoxy, but there may also be a hint of personal identification in this love letter from one dissident Polish artist to another. […] Afterimage is as elegantly assembled as all of Wajda’s work: beautifully lit, tastefully art directed, and handsomely shot.” In Dalton’s words, Wajda depicts Strzemiński as a “brave, almost saintly resistance fighter for artistic freedom.”