Wladyslaw Pasikowski's Aftermath begins with Franek, the son of a poor farmer, returning to the small village in central Poland where he was raised. He is there to see his brother Jozek but also to return to his homeland and get an explanation of why Jozek's wife moved to the US to stay with him. On his arrival he learns that Jozek has been completely ostracized by the small community, receiving death threats on an almost daily basis. As the two brothers struggle to rekindle their relationship they simultaneously unearth a dark secret that forces them to confront their past. The only term that comes to mind when describing Pasikowski's film is incendiary. Aftermath is a dark gothic tale that burns to the core of the audiences emotions, taking a deep look at the relationship between morality and selfishness/greed. From the very onset of Aftermath there is a great sense of unease, with the filmmaker using brooding cinematography and sound editing to create this great sense of dread. While Wladyslaw Pasikowski's Aftermath is a deeply affecting film, it plays out almost like a horror film with mystery elements that do a great job at disguising this dramatic bombshell up until the very end. At its core the film touches on lots of interesting ideas about religion, guilt, greed, and morality but the story of the two brothers, the one who stayed, and the one who left, has lots of subtlety and great depth of character. Aftermath is not an easy film, and it understands that in its somewhat ambiguous conclusion but make no mistake this is one of the most intense and well-made films of the year.
Love of all things cinema brought me here.