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dir. Agnieszka Wójtowicz-Vosloo / USA 2009 / 104’
subtitles: Polish


Liam Neeson, Christina Ricci, Justin Long, Chandler Canterbury, Celia Weston, Luz Alexandra Ramos, Josh Charles

Film description

In her Hollywood debut, the independent director of Polish origin struggles with childhood trauma in a film she penned herself and then managed to cast with A-list actors. She owes the one-in-a-million opportunity to her determined production of a film school short, the futuristic Pâté, a story of a family locked in a struggle for post-apocalyptic survival, with a shocking scene where the mother sacrifices her daughters’ bodies to feed her lover that is a hyperbolized metaphor of emotional cannibalism.

After.Life’s dark atmosphere taken straight from Brothers Grimm fairytales, violation of the taboo, and interplay among genres have become the director’s hallmarks. Here is a thriller and morality play. It is a vehicle for confronting audiences with the ever present, though constantly hidden, fear of death. In her meticulous and elegant style, Wójtowicz-Vosloo focuses on the psychic and physical aspects of death. The film’s heroine is an unfulfilled young woman who awakes in a morgue convinced she is still alive. A mortician touched by his power to talk to the dead attempts to convince her that it is an illusion. In this purgatory, the woman undergoes successive stages of accepting her own demise. The director keeps things lively by constantly forcing the audience to question the mysterious mortician’s version of events.

Agnieszka Szeffel

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