Pasikowski returns after ten years to reveal dark secret in Aftermath
by Jorn Rossing Jensen
02/12/2011 - After a ten-year of absence from the big screen, Polish director Wladyslaw Pasikowski (pictured) will shortly be returning with a contemporary – and controversial – thriller. A co-writer of Polish director Andrzej Wajda’s Oscar-nominated Katyń (2007) [trailer, film focus], about the Soviet secret police’s slaughter of 22,000 Poles in the Katyn Forest during World War II, Pasikowski deals with another 1941 real-life massacre in the background of Aftermath - Poles killing Jews.
Scripted by Pasikowski, the film tells the story of two brothers, Franek and Jozek, sons of a poor peasant in eastern Poland. Franek emigrates to the US in the early 1980s, breaking all ties with his family. In 2000, he decides to go back to his native village and find out about his brother’s situation. During his stay the two brothers discover that the little community is hiding a dark secret from the past: during the German occupation, more than 100 Jews were herded into a house, which was then set on fire by their Polish neighbours, who took over their houses and farms.
Pasikowski, who was named Best Director at the Polish Film Festival in Gdynia for Kroll (Best Debut/1991), and the thrillers Pigs (1992) and Pigs 2 (1994), most recently helmed The Cop (2004, 2008) for television, which critics hailed as the best Polish crime series ever. Starring Ireneusz Czop and Maciej Stuhr, Aftermath was shot by Pawel Edelman, who has made several films with Pasikowski, Roman Polanski (The Pianist [trailer], The Ghost Writer [trailer]) and Wajda (Katyn); the crew included set designer Allan Starski, who has also been a frequent Polanski and Wajda collaborator – he won a shared Oscar for US director Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List.
This year, celebrating the 20th anniversary of his Apple Film, Polish producer Dariusz Jablonski packaged the film – his 20th – as a Polish, Dutch, Slovakian and Russian co-production, filmed on Polish locations and backed by Canal+ Poland, Polish Television-TVP, the Polish Film Institute and Dutch Film Fund. ”It is hard to believe that in Poland, where millions of people were killed by Nazis and Russians during the German and Soviet occupation, Poles would in some cases murder fellow Jewish citizens. Moreover, such crimes took place in many European countries,” said Jablonski, who also produced Pasikowski’s The Cop series. Himself a director and former assistant to Polish director Krzysztof Kieslowski, he is currently negotiating Polish and international distribution for Aftermath in late 2012.