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Synopsis

 

When John returns home to his father after serving time in prison, he is looking forward to starting his life afresh. However in the local community, his crime is neither forgotten nor forgiven. John’s presence brings out the worst in everyone around him and a lynch-mob atmosphere slowly takes shape. Feeling abandoned by his former friends and the people he loves, John loses hope and the same aggressions that previously sent him to prison start building up again. Unable to leave the past behind, he decides to confront it.

Directors statement

I came up with the idea for ‘The Here After’ when I was preparing for my exam film, ‘Without Snow’ at the Polish film school in Lodz. I was reading documents from police investigations of crimes committed by teenagers. Among these documents I came across a story that particularly moved me: a fifteen year old boy had killed his girlfriend, because he couldn’t stand the fact that she had fallen in love with someone else. In-between the lines of his confession I felt that behind the awful act there was actually a shy, young boy. He admitted to the crime but had no idea how he could actually have done something so horrifying. He was frightened, unhappily in love and tried to make amends for his crime while not being emotionally prepared for it at all. That was the inspiration for our film.
To me, the essence of ‘The Here After” is the story of a boy who after having committed murder and served his punishment is released back into society when he is still a child. He wants to move on but the people surrounding him are unable to let him do so. It's a tale about emotionally disconnected people. A quiet, dormant illness present in society and that has been passed down from generation to generation in the protagonist’s family. Finally it found an outlet in the killing of a young girl. Everyone carries a blame inside, but admitting to it would mean taking on a responsibility which cannot be avoided; a failure, which cannot be washed off.