Movie / Culture

To the movies to see The Last Family. Now!

The director’s debut of thirty-three-years-old Jan P. Matusyznski – The Last Family – is a brutally realistic probe into a family life on the premises of two small block apartments. In one lives an elderly painter with his wife, camera and two old ladies. In the second their problematic son, who tries to commit suicide in more or less prominent ways.

Most of us have probably never heard of the painter Zdislaw Beksinski, the representative of Polish Surrealism. The Last Family is a biographocal movie, that explores Beksinski’s life for thirty years. Interestingly, the movie does not turn around his work, but – as the name suggests – the life of his family. His life has been in real-life captured on camera by Beksinki – during celebrations, fights or funerals. The opening scene of the movie is startlingly shocking, but when seventy-two-years-old Beksinki describes the sadomasochistic sex fantasy with the robotic Alicia Silverstone, the movie suddenly drag you in. The the movie returns in time to 1977, when the parents Zdislaw and Zophia accompany theit „a bit crazy“ son Tomko to his first apartment. Dawid Ogrodnik, the maniodepressive Tomko, will amaze you by his persuasiveness and talent, that he shows in two hours of hysterical, desperate, ironic and humorous scenes that made us to look forward to his next film. No less prominent is the well-known Polish actor Andrzej Seweryn (Schindler’s list) as Berksinski, who contrast with his son with pathological serenity and apathy. Aleksandra Konieczna as a shrieking mother, the last linking particle of the family, does not have much room for expression in her own family as well as in the movie, but it’s enough to see one ingenious conversation about love and happiness with his son to make clear how well written her character is. On the one hand, the movie could be more brash and clutter – for the fans of classic storytelling The Last Family may seem somewhat sparse. On the other hand, the movie is not boring because of its unique form, which blends a great camera (the footage on the sidewalks are hypnotic) with Berksinski awkward home-videos, full of crinkled zooming onto his own reflection in the mirror. This intimacy, captured in the backdrops of 70s plastic furniture, accompanied by flawlessly selected music, create such a compelling atmosphere of otherwise chamber movie.

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