In this unconventional portrait of Polish painter Zdzisław Beksiński (1929-2005), we hardly ever see him so much as pick up a brush. Some of his dystopian, surrealistic works are on display in his apartment, but this feature debut by director Jan P. Matuszyński concentrates more on this Polish cult hero’s family life than on his art. The focus is particularly on his neurotic son, Tomasz, whose violent outbursts and recurring suicidal tendencies constantly occupy Beksiński and his wife Zofia in this decade-spanning family saga.
Beksiński recorded virtually his entire life, starting in 1957 on audio tape, later also using photographs and video recordings. Matuszyński makes grateful use of these rich sources. The result is an at times documentary-like but nonetheless highly stylised film. Lead actor Andrzej Seweryn rightly won best actor award at the Locarno film festival for his dry, sardonic interpretation of Beksiński.