The past might never be dead, but just how deeply can it be buried? That’s the question brothers Franek and Jozek grapple with as they uncover the secrets of their rural Polish village 60 years after World War II, in Władysław Pasikowski‘s controversial film Pokłosie (Aftermath).
Franek returns to Poland from Chicago when he learns that his brother Jozek’s wife has left him. In an effort to understand why, Franek discovers that Jozek became a local pariah when he ripped up a road that German occupiers had paved decades earlier—with headstones from a Jewish cemetery.
Franek reluctantly supports Jozek’s effort to collect the village’s remaining Jewish headstones and erect them in his wheatfield. Villagers who live on formerly Jewish land try to discourage them—most viscerally through defacing their home with a dead dog and anti-Semitic graffiti. As they investigate, the brothers discover that their family’s role in the destruction of the village’s Jews was greater than they’d thought. The result is an unrelenting, unsentimental interrogation of historical revisionism and the ways grown children try to atone for their fathers – and a fascinating look at contemporary Poland.