Struggle: The Life and Lost Art of Szukalski tells the story of the one that could have been and was not. The focus of this original documentary that now comes to the catalog of Netflix is in this artist and sculptor who is being increasingly rediscovered by lovers of fine and elegant art, while transmitting diverse feelings to those who admire them. Such an artist should be celebrated in every museum and art house in the world, but that is not what happened to Szukalski. At least not until now (watch here).
The life journey of this Polish living in the United States, who died relatively unknown in 1987, is portrayed in this sensitive documentary, which had the production of none other than Leonardo DiCaprio. The film attempts to re-trace the origins of Szukalski, goes through a period of enormous tragedy for him and, finally, his home and attempt to rebuild himself as an artist in the United States. For this, it relies on old tapes with interviews with himself, as well as people who have lived with him and others who admire his art.
An unknown genius
The central character of Struggle: The Life and Lost Art of Szukalski – in this case, himself – is portrayed as an unknown genius, who had his fame expanded only after his death. And it is true: the man had everything to be one of the great sculptors and painters of the twentieth century, because of his immeasurable talent for these arts, very refined and rich in details that enchant anyone. Some say that he was the Michelangelo of our era. However, he died alone and without glories in Burbank, California. Why did this happen?
To understand the tragic fate of Szukalski, the documentary recounts how he began in the plastic arts at the beginning of the last century, and how he was conquering Europe with his creations until the arrival of World War II. By losing the work of his entire life until then, the artist almost succumbed to depression, but decided to start all over again away from his beloved Poland. He then moves to the United States and tries to retake his name. While maintaining the qualities of his sculptures and paintings, and still having as inspiration all the horror that the war (and the loss of his works) caused in his life, he could not establish his name while he was alive.
As we understand in Struggle: The Life and Lost Art of Szukalski, his fame came only after his death. Szukalski was an eccentric guy, he was sure he was a genius and one of the greatest names in world art, but he did not have the recognition he deserved. Already in old age, recorded several testimonies where he dissected his methods of work and his life until then. This is the raw base material for this documentary, which is enriched by other interviews with people who have been lucky enough to get along with this real raw talent.
Struggle: The Life and Lost Art of Szukalski shows all the glory of the artist’s life, as well as his decline in old age, when he no longer believed he would be recognized, despite keeping in his mind the awareness of his enormous talent. Late recognition is only a sad note for the trajectory of this unique Polish, which we can now know in detail in this sad and beautiful documentary.
Do not be fooled: this is a sad story indeed. No matter how beautiful his productions were, Szukalski did not have what he wanted most in life: the applause and recognition of critics and the public. He died in annoyance – but with the certainty that he did everything within his reach. This is his life trajectory and deserves to be seen and disseminated to all generations.
Trailer and additional information about Struggle: The Life and Lost Art of Szukalski Netflix
Synopsis 1: Hidden in a nondescript suburb, they find him: an artist who could have been an icon. Then they learn why he wasn’t.
Synopsis 2: Artists in LA discover the work of forgotten Polish sculptor Stanislav Szukalski, a mad genius whose true story unfolds chapter by astounding chapter.
Age rating: 16;
Release year: 2018.
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