Aftermath (Pokłosie) is a Polish drama film released in 2012. The film tells the story of brothers Józef and Franciszek Kalina. Franciszek has just returned to his birthplace, a small town in Poland, from America after his father has died. Franciszek finds that his brother, despite his own anti-Semitism, has been investigating the truth about what happens to the town’s Jewish population during World War Two. The brothers, despite increasingly being ostracized and harassed by the rest of the village, continue investigating and find that the Jews were not sent to camps by the Nazis but rather killed all in one day by their Polish neighbors.
The film is based on the town of Jedwabne, in northeast Poland, all of whose Jewish residents were killed in July 1941 by Polish gentiles. In both the fictional and real-life version of events, the massacres were blamed on the Nazis. The film’s director and screenwriter, Władysław Pasikowski, was inspired to create the film by the 2000 book Neighbors by historian Jan Gross. The book told the story of the Jedwabne massacre and was deeply controversial in Poland.
Like the 2013 film Ida, Aftermath was controversial in Poland because of its depiction of strongly negative actions committed by Poles during World War Two. Government officials and filmmakers praised the film, but the press and many viewers had complaints, though these were mostly political rather than artistic. After the film’s release, the lead actor, Maciej Stuhr, was threatened and called Jewish slurs. The film was reviewed favorably as a film, however, and was nominated for seven Polish Film Awards—it won two, including for best actor for Maciej Stuhr.
Director: Władysław Pasikowski
Stars: Ireneusz Czop, Maciej Stuhr, Jerzy Radziwiłowicz, Zbigniew Zamachowski, Zuzana Fialová
Production company: Apple Film Production