Ostatnia rodzina [The Last Family] (2016)

Ostatnia rodzina
Director: Jan P. Matuszynski
Writer: Robert Bolesto
Cast: Andrzej Seweryn, Dawid Ogrodnik, Aleksandra Konieczna, Andrzej Chyra, Zofia Perczynska, Danuta Nagórna
Part of: Scope100 (the winning film in Austria)
Seen on: 20.12.2016

Surrealist painter Zdzisław Beksiński (Andrzej Seweryn) loves to record his family life. Over a period of 28 years, he keeps extensive records of his interactions with his wife Zofia (Aleksandra Konieczna) and his son Tomasz (Dawid Ogrodnik), a radio DJ and movie dubber. Things between Zdzisław and Tomasz are difficult, both having rather eccentric personalities. Zofia does her best to keep their  family at peace and for the most part she succeeds.

I had never heard of Beksiński before the film, which is unfortunate, but also heightened the effect of the film for me. And the impression it left on me was certainly very strong.

From what I gather, the film tries very hard to be a faithful representation of the Beksińskis’ life and since Beksiński really did have this obsession with recording his family life, there is enough material to build on. And for the most part the film reads like a beautiful family epic, with a good sense of humor and it’s smaller and bigger tragedies.

And then comes the ending. And if you don’t know anything about the Beksińskis, I’d recommend not reading up on them beforehand, because then the ending will carry an extra punch. But it is definitely a punch, so if you want to be prepared for it, I can empathize. It certainly took me a bit to recover from the ending.

In any case, I enjoyed discovering this family that must have been far from easy, and I loved discovering Beksiński as an artist. His paintings are so much up my alley, I can’t believe I didn’t know him before.

Matuszynski and Bolesto created an intricate portray that manages to pack not only a lot of years in a rather short time, but also a depth of characterization that is absolutely enviable (and perfectly carried out by the cast). It’s a really great film.

Summarizing: Find it. Watch it.

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