Apolonia, Apolonia (2022) Movie Script

For as long as I can remember,
I've seen the world through my camera
But no motif has caught my eye
as she did.
Can you help me with the clothes?
I'd prefer that.
Should I put this on?
I feel fat.
Here she is on her 26th birthday.
- No, I don't like it.
- You look good.
Very pretty.
Come in among the women.
- These are the ones you can eat.
- A rose.
- You've brought a tree.
- Happy birthday.
I may just have been
invited as a guest.
But as always, I brought my camera.
This is my first meeting with her.
She had just returned from Denmark
to her childhood home in Paris.
Say something, please.
I'm testing the microphone.
My name is Apolonia,
and we are in the Chateau Rouge area
at the Lavoir Moderne Parisien,
which is a theater.
- Will that do as a sound test?
- Yes.
I want to film you.
Stay. What?
- It's true.
- Yeah.
- Two minutes of silence.
- Two minutes?
- That's a long time.
- A very long time.
I need to focus.
She seemed familiar
and like a stranger at the same time.
I grew up in the countryside
in Denmark.
My granddad loved painting
and paid me 1 euro an hour to sit
still while he painted me.
He would tell me
that a painting is for eternity.
That artists since the dawn of time
had painted kings, eternalizing them.
But I had no interest in kings
and the only eternity I experienced,
was the long wait.
I picked up the camera instead.
I'm filming!
In my early twenties at film school,
I was assigned to portray a person.
I heard of a young woman
who'd grown up in a theater in Paris.
And who wanted to follow
in the footsteps of the great
So I went to meet Apolonia.
Apolonia lived
in Lavoir Moderne Parisien
a wash hall in a working-class,
culturally diverse neighborhood
which her parents
had transformed into a theater.
the theater had seen better days.
You're so strong, Dad.
This is generally how I break things.
Didn't you have more furniture?
A sofa?
- That was my dad's.
- Your dad's. So... it's gone.
We've been through liquidation and...
What do you call the people
who come and take your things?
- The bailiffs?
- The debt collectors? No.
- Les huissiers.
- Yes, that is the debt collectors.
"Yes, that is the debt collectors."
She invited me in
and allowed me to film everything.
I was reflecting this morning.
I had to tell it to you
and the lady who's filming.
The closer we get, the further
I get from where I want to go.
It's not... a final opinion,
but I'm telling you.
Should we eat?
Shall we eat?
Max is breaking up with me now.
Why can't you just break my heart
in January
so I will paint
from January, February
and be sad there...
- That was your plan?
- That is my plan.
That's far out, Api.
Shit... okay.
Whether I captured Apolonia
with my camera
or Apolonia captured me
in her theater
I still don't know.
You sure have a lot of boxes.
- Do you want this?
- Mona Lisa?
Oh, this is something.
- What's that?
- That's my mom.
That's my dad, and that's me.
It's the same room we're in now.
My parents named me Apolonia.
And they filmed themselves
on video beta tapes...
Come sit here.
It was kind of fantastic. I had
never seen my parents in love before.
- See you.
- That's all?
Then I found this tape, and it says:
"Do not watch before you turn 18."
But of course I'm under 18
when I watch it.
That is the moment of my creation.
- You're happy, aren't you?
- Yes.
A big orange circle.
You can see it in the mirror...
And that's how I knew.
This is me filming.
- This is your dad.
- This is your mom.
Alexandra has a baby there.
The funny thing is
you're there and there
but you're actually there.
Oh no.
This is my birth!
- What?
- My birth.
A video of your birth?
Really? That's pretty crazy.
How are you?
Apolonia was born a child of the
theater that her parents had created
And it was here, among crowds of
people, that Apolonia grew up
among dissident artists,
intellectuals and activists.
But when Apolonia was eight,
her parents split up.
As her father's name was on the lease
her mother lost her part of the
and she and Apolonia
were thrown out on the street.
Apolonia's doctors said it was grief
that caused the cancer in her stomach
Although the tumor was removed
the doctors didn't believe Apolonia
had more than 10 years left to live.
The only people who gave her hope
were the nuns at the hospital
who in the evenings showed her
art depicting eternal life.
Coincidence brought Apolonia
and her mother to Denmark
in the hope of a better life.
But Denmark never felt like home
to Apolonia
and as soon as she turned 18,
she went back to the theater
which was suffering financially, and
real estate speculators were lurking.
Apolonia, I've gotten to know you
the princess of my beloved friend,
Herv Breuil, the king of Lavoir
He is not here right now.
But his spirit is. He is here.
To Daddy!
- I want to propose a toast to
Discover the person and I'll let you
have the next toast. Cheers!
If I'd ever dreamed of Bohemia,
this was how I'd imagined it.
Far removed from life
in the Danish countryside.
Here I was, among poets,
actors, artists, musicians
and political activists.
And I just couldn't get enough of it.
I had entered a magical theater,
and Apolonia played the starring role
You're still here!
They don't like that you are filming.
See how suspicious they are.
The camera is the evil eye.
Are you coming to school with me?
On the other side of the Seine
was a very different Paris.
This is what my granddad
had talked about.
Kings had actually been
eternalized here.
And I walked her to school many times
You're welcome to take a look.
Here's a view of the Louvre.
Hello. How are you today?
Those are partisans
in the woods in Belarus.
What are you working on right now?
What's the nature of your art project?
Artistic project?
I don't like the concept of project.
It's not a project.
It's a sort of continuation.
It's something that began
when I was born. And it never stopped.
I can't separate anything...
What I do or what I am.
And it's risky. Many art historians
advise me against it
because I can't tell the difference
between my identity and my work.
And there really is no difference.
I'm trying to understand
my mother's heritage.
Apolonia discovered
a history of expulsion.
She found and painted her
grandmother's abandoned wooden house
which was still standing as it did
on the night Stalin deported the
from Belarus to Siberia.
From here,
they were transferred to Poland.
And Alexandra, Apolonia's mother,
was the first generation born in
At 18, Apolonia's mother fled
with a Danish tourist to Denmark
to escape communism
and get a better life.
But she didn't find it there.
One day she saw a photo of
the Eiffel Tower and she left for
without a penny to her name.
Here, she met a French artist,
Herv, Apolonia's father.
Be careful. The cords are dangerous.
You can go the other way around.
My father is hanging on the facade
of the theater, writing a text.
Excuse me,
can you go the other way around?
Let's just refer to the law of 1945
that says no theater must be torn down
as it's the only place where
the people can express themselves.
We've fought for many years now,
trying to save the place.
- Are you at risk of being kicked out?
- Yes, every day.
...taking advantage
of our judicial liquidation.
And now they want to expel us.
These people are difficult to stop,
and they have the means.
They are fearless
and only care about profit.
It's a place that matters
in the neighborhood. It has a history.
- What did he say?
- Who?
Herv. Has he left?
No, I just gave him the key to...
...close the... roll-up grid.
Are you okay? Are you scared?
A lot went on in Apolonia's theater.
Many people came and went.
But one person in particular
seemed to stand out.
Yeah, it's shit, but...
- So sexy!
- This is good.
- Maybe I'll put it up on the door.
- Look at Oksana.
It's very, very bad.
Oksana was from Ukraine,
only 25 years old, and already a
As a child,
she wanted to join a monastery.
At age 12, she painted icons
and frescoes for the orthodox church.
At age 14, she turned atheist
and feminist activist
fighting against suppression
and for women's rights
in a pro-Russian-governed Ukraine.
No one listened, so she changed her
ways. That was the beginning of Femen
A feminist revolutionary movement.
When she had to flee from Russian
intelligence with two broken arms
Apolonia took her
and the rest of Femen in.
I'm pretty sure that
feminist activists
was good protection from
the hungry real estate speculators.
But the protection wasn't worth much
against the new enemies
that a Femen headquarters attracted.
And Apolonia told me
she regretted taking Femen in.
But never Oksana...
...who already when she arrived
faced expulsion from Femen.
I think Oksana was a repetition
of Apolonia's mother's story
and that of all the others
who had come here to Paris,
the city of art and freedom
carrying nothing.
I've stolen so much meat!
Hi Minoi.
I stole so much food.
- Seriously?
- Yes, all of it.
- "Apolonitschka".
- Oksana.
As time went by, me and my camera
became a fixture in the theater.
Sure, Listen.
There is an open house this weekend.
It's a mess.
I didn't organize anything.
- May I take photos?
- Sure.
This is Oksana's.
These ones are Oksana's.
The ones back there are mine.
It's meant to be a tarot game. I play
with turning the paintings upside
Many layers and stories
that you can't see anymore
that then reappear...
- Many secrets.
- It's good.
Many secrets.
That's an interesting idea.
You talk about an enormous card game.
How many cards do you make?
I don't know. This took me a year.
So you see, it's a slow process.
How many paintings
in your tarot card series?
- Is this part of it but not done?
- Yes, there is one, two...
Three, four, five, six, seven,
eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve.
- There are some unfinished ones as
Do you have
a short intro text about yourself?
Yes, I can fix it for you
in a couple of days.
No, not in a couple of days.
Right now.
- I'll stay in touch.
- Bye.
So? Did you talk?
You know me,
I talk and talk and talk.
You look totally tired.
Yeah, but I need to send her
all kinds of stuff.
Good wine, huh? Very good.
You should sleep with a sweater
if you're sick.
- Why?
- Because you're going to freeze.
No, I'm not like this sick,
I have just...
I never understood
whether the fire was arson
aimed at Femen,
Apolonia or an accident.
But it was a miracle
that no one was hurt.
Apolonia went to New York,
and Oksana stayed in the theater.
Three months passed
before I saw her and Apolonia again.
Api is in Paris!
It is impossible.
When I came here
when I just opened the door
this big roller door,
and opened the door
I said, "Ah, Apo is here!"
I knew perfectly your smell.
- It's crazy there, Oksana.
- New York?
Very expensive and very... speed?
Yeah, but so much art.
Underground art.
The town never sleeps, you know?
You love New York.
I want to live there
and be professional.
And you have a lot of friends now?
Yeah, a lot.
Great people.
Oh fuck!
I'm dreaming so nice things.
- America! America...
- No.
- Hi Lea!
- Hi Apolonia!
Last Friday, this man stabbed two
people during the performance.
Oh no!
He stabbed one in the throat
and another in the heart.
They both survived. It's so horrible.
- How are you?
- I'm so shocked.
- Are you okay?
- It doesn't stop...
- Were you there?
- Yes! I was right next to the
Oksana was behind him.
And he wanted to kill
us. Oksana, me...
He had really prepared the attack.
Slowly, the cracks started to show...
At the theater, and with Apolonia.
Even though no one died
in the attack
Apolonia's struggle to stay
in the theater died.
Oksana and Apolonia stayed in
the theater for as long as they could
before they had to hand over the keys
Oksana was now a fugitive
without a home.
An activist without her movement.
And Apolonia had lost
her childhood home.
It feels like
there are ghosts in these walls.
I don't feel like talking about it.
It's really unpleasant.
Yes, I can understand that.
It's just that it makes me think about
how much energy I've put into this
But I'm not ready to leave either.
It's like being a princess
in a castle.
Living the grand life
that everyone is jealous of.
But I also believe
this place is draining me.
Apolonia, when are you
bringing your stuff?
- And your dad is coming?
- Yes.
Excuse me.
What's that?
Daddy, are you having more kids?
- Does it frighten you?
- No, not at all.
I want you to have more kids,
because I won't be having any myself.
You are 26 and don't want any
children. Lea's 32 and doesn't want
Oksana is 27
and doesn't want any children.
Maybe. She hasn't made up her mind.
Does all of your generation
feel that way?
- In New York, yes.
- And in Paris?
- They think less about it.
- You have friends who think about it?
Not right now.
Or yes, but I don't talk to them.
- What are you doing?
- Peeing, but there are nettles.
Not having children, is that related
to not wanting to grow old?
- For Oksana, I think so.
- What for Oksana?
He asked if not having children
does it have anything to do
with not growing old?
And I said maybe for you.
Yeah, maybe.
The problem for me is that
if I want to paint, it won't be
It's something that makes me very sad.
I have my exam this year
and I need to do the best that I can
so I can be selected.
In order to have this huge exhibition
in the center of Paris.
That'll give me
lots of contacts and possibilities.
And only a few people are allowed
to have the exhibition there?
Yeah, like out of 200,
you have maybe 80.
You have idea?
I was working on the tarot,
but I think it's boring.
You've made huge work already
on the tarot.
But I don't like it.
- But it's terrible...
- That's why it goes.
No, it's terrible
that you don't like it. Api!
Not finishing things
is your worst problem.
Remember the terms
and finish something.
Yeah, you're my great friend.
You know this.
Two years we lived together like...
...two wives.
- They all know how I love you.
- We're like a couple.
It's amazing. It's incredible, right?
Apolonia moved with her mom
into a tiny apartment.
400 m2 had become 12.
The professors at the Beaux-Arts
encouraged Oksana to apply
just as Apolonia was
about to graduate.
I'm skipping all classes.
It's terrible.
Social services gave Apolonia
and her mom a new apartment
with room for all three of them.
Apo didn't...
She won't use my help
because I have broken hands.
- She stops me always.
- You have broken hands?
In Ukraine, when I broke my two arms.
It's still a little fragile, but...
Api is very careful.
I can even show
some progress in this work
around political refugee.
I have this card.
Now I can travel in Europe,
but not by plane
but it is good news.
And it makes me a little more free
to cross the border.
For this I'm very happy.
For me, it just came,
this understanding
that I escaped from my country
and can't come back to my country.
That I'm very far away from my family
very far away from all my friends
and all my life that I built.
Here, I'm also very happy
that I have new friends
and new people around me
but in my personal life,
I don't do a lot.
I guess.
With Api,
also I didn't spend a lot of time
because it's her last year
in Beaux-Arts
so all the time she had to paint.
Did you show your professor
your new paintings?
That's exciting,
because I'll bring them to school now.
- Your paintings have changed a lot.
- Hugely.
- The paintings emptied themselves?
- Yes.
- We left the family?
- Yes.
But we still portray people.
Yes, but people are everywhere.
We have left the family.
We have left the...
No. I want to see them together.
Visually, I see it as simpler.
Visually, it's simple
compared to the other paintings.
It might be as rich for you
because you know these individuals.
But it's like you emptied a bag.
And now you want
to fill it up differently.
But this kind of painting,
I know them, I've seen them before.
But I'd never seen anything
like your previous paintings.
You are someone really full.
Full of... ideas.
There are dreams,
nightmares, literature, friends.
There's the relation with the objects.
It's a world
a real labyrinth,
but here the labyrinth isn't there.
But it's possible that all the
paintings here are absolutely
So I can't wait for what comes next.
- So you think it's a phase.
- Yes, it's a phase.
Because you are like that,
but you're not only like that!
That's the thing.
- Mom, what should we do about Oksana?
- Why?
She's depressed, anorectic
and does nothing in her life.
- Anorectic, I don't know.
- She only weighs 40 kg.
You can't do anything.
- But I need to...
- You can't do anything.
I come from work, and she sits here.
It was as if she was...
...very ill. All clenched up.
- She didn't talk...
- You don't think she's well?
She told me she realized
she can't go back home.
Ah, she can't go back home.
Yes, but why isn't she
creating something?
She also said: "I need to make
something, because I'm depressed."
- She said that to you?
- Yes.
I'm doing my diploma.
I'm presenting my work
to an external jury.
I get 20 minutes with them
to show them my work and so on.
I will most certainly get my diploma.
But they select some students whom
they see as the future artists of
I hope to be selected.
I'll put this here.
I've been working so hard this year,
but there are not many paintings.
I made around 24 paintings.
I'll display 10 of them.
I don't know
what my friends will think of them.
They most likely won't care.
They just drink the booze.
It makes no difference to people
who aren't into art.
One more painting...
People don't even see
the difference between acrylic and
But it means the world to me.
It's weird. I'm inviting all these
people here and cooking for them...
...so that they will come see
my paintings.
It says congratulations.
But don't congratulate me just yet.
They didn't give me the diploma yet.
Thank you. Goodbye.
Wait here.
- So?
- What?
They thought that my personality
was more interesting than my
Did they say that?
I wonder if they would've said so
to a male painter?
What do they want?
- It's a bummer.
- No.
What a great artist we are getting.
- Your teacher supported you, right?
- What can I do?
The fact is that they like
who I am more than what I do.
I won't be selected
for the big exhibition.
Follow the blue arrows.
Now I got my diploma.
I'm a real woman now.
Yes, I got the diploma.
Let's go.
Here she was. With a diploma from one
of the finest art schools in the
The jury didn't single her out
but it was a big event
that Apolonia got her diploma.
And for a little while, it was almost
like being back at her theater.
Everyone was here.
The professors. Some family.
The friends.
And a curator from Los Angeles.
Even the locals from the old street,
who looked after her as a child, came
And Oksana, of course.
While the selected few had a year
to prepare the big winner's exhibitio
in the center of Paris
Apolonia had to pave her own way.
- What do you want to talk about?
- Tell me about what's happened.
Everything has changed.
I no longer have a theater.
I haven't had it for a year now.
All the friends and people
that I have seen so much...
They came because of the home I had.
It's all gone.
I was born in that theater.
That's what I am. Actually.
That's how I grew up.
Obviously, I have a very
small portfolio.
Because all I did was underground.
I didn't spend those five years
flirting with the right people.
That entire schooling.
Probably because I looked
after the theater.
But the art market...
I flirted with intelligence, not with
the market. You could put it that way.
So this is sort of
flirting with the market.
I'm almost 30 now.
Maybe I should have started earlier.
Paris seemed like a dead end
for Apolonia.
So I understood why she left.
A former guest at the theater
got her a job in New York
with one of the most hyped
contemporary artists.
She worked all day producing the art,
which he sold in his own name.
She was paid just enough for her
to rent a place, where she slept
on the floor among
her own paint and brushes.
I believe this was what
my granddad meant when he said
that his father's art collection
was bought with food and shelter.
And I understood
why Apolonia moved on.
She asked me to come along.
Apolonia was invited by the curator
who had attended her diploma in Paris
Isabel lived and worked
in Beverly Hills.
Isabel introduced Apolonia
to Stefan Simchowitz.
A businessman with a goal of buying
the world's largest collection
of promising contemporary artists.
And why only buy the art when
it's so much cheaper to buy the
For Apolonia, this was
the opportunity she'd dreamed of.
- Did you know who he was?
- I didn't know who he was.
I'm from France
so hadn't heard about him.
I only have references to painters
and not to the business side.
But when I was at his house,
he showed me his collection.
And he had paintings by the greatest
contemporary artists of my generation.
He said, "How many paintings
do you make in a month?"
I said, "10."
"I'll get you a studio."
It's pure business.
- Simcho?
- Simchowitz.
What this guy does,
apart from other things, is
he takes care of the artist
like on a film production.
Next to my studio is a guy named
Kour Pour. I don't know if you know
He's a painter whose paintings
go for $50,000. He's my age.
He's Simcho's creation.
He takes an artist under his wing
when she's not famous,
but very hardworking.
And he gives them a studio.
Exactly like in Hollywood.
You have a little box where you work.
So he's in charge
of the artist's career
from the beginning until fame.
But I'm still being tested.
The risk is
that I might fall out of favor
and he has a lot of my paintings
and sells them cheap
because he's angry.
"He subverts this establishment
by selling his curated acquisitions
directly to a diverse network
of wealthy clientele
who trust his taste implicitly."
"The Art World's Patron Satan."
New York Times.
Look at me.
- Hi. I'm Mike.
- Apolonia.
- How long are you staying?
- Until the end of January.
- And back to Paris?
- Yeah, my visa runs out.
But we have this tea
with Stefan Simchowitz and...
- Harvey Weinstein.
- Harvey Weinstein?
- Take care.
- He said that. But we're having tea.
They're gonna make a letter
so I can get this extraordinary
- Great. You go to tea with them?
- Yes.
She has an exhibition
at the end of January.
- Where?
- I don't know yet.
- Great. I'll paint you with the dog.
- Great.
Bye, bye.
Our budget.
We got $5000 from Simcho.
Plus $2200.
$3900 plus $500.
It's exactly what I thought.
We have $500 left.
- But how much did we use?
- $4430.
So we have $520 left.
Ah. Wax.
Everything so far.
The paints are our first priority.
They mean everything for my work.
We'll try to pay everything with
this card, but I'm not sure it's okay.
- In my opinion...
- I have three weeks left.
- Is that finished?
- Maybe I'll change it a bit.
It's incredible.
You know, none of them are done yet.
This is you sleeping over here.
- I don't sleep. I just work all day.
- You never sleep.
Well, shit, girl. I don't think
you need to start any new ones.
You ain't got no room. Your pockets
are going to be fat as fuck.
I hope it's going to work out
because I need the money, you know?
Are you kidding me?
- Don't you have a sponsor?
- It's complicated.
- He put me here and then he left.
- Yeah.
- Don't be desperate.
- I'm not desperate.
Don't be desperate,
that's all I'm saying.
You worked your ass off. It's a
fucking show. Most people take a
- You need a fucking break.
- Yeah, you're right.
What do you think
about the colors, Stefan?
I think the paintings are good.
Clearly, your subjects are chosen by
what's directly around you
so in a sense
you traveling to other places...
I don't find Tim Blum's son
an interesting subject.
- The subject for me is the boy.
- Exactly.
So it's got this art world thing
that works. People like...
- Who's that?
- Tam Van Tran.
So it's good they're like artists,
so it has its own natural...
I like it.
I like the paintings.
I want to proceed forward
with getting more
but the question is logistically
how to deal with it.
It's been very stressful.
Usually I make four paintings in a
Now I've been making 10, you know?
So I'm like...
...trying to get
on another level of my capacities.
Stand there.
I think they're very good.
Does she have a lawyer?
- Do you have any press?
- No.
This is the deal.
This is the deal.
Can you turn that off please?
Apolonia got her exhibition.
And all the right people showed up.
Can I do a pose or what?
Simchowitz even got
an important art critic to show up.
The doors finally seemed
to open for Apolonia.
Let's go.
I'm really trying to control my ego.
You've become an industrial
product now.
Do you understand what she said?
That I'm an industrial product now.
I'm not going to be cool anymore
for any of my friends. Fuck.
It's true.
Happy New Year!
Lea, this is Hollywood.
What did that art critic think
about your paintings?
Actually, what he said
was interesting.
He said that I had painted
them all dead.
And that...
There was no love for the people in
them compared to my old paintings.
He saw that right away.
I asked him:
"If everything went wrong..."
"If I did something wrong,
will you please tell me?"
"In the future.
Would you save me from a bad
"Just by telling me. Alert me."
"It's too late," he said.
"You're already trapped."
"I can't choose what you should do
and you already made that pact."
"You're already in trouble."
Then I ask him:
"But what should I do then?"
I ask him, "What can I do about it?"
And he answers me:
"The only way out...
...is to be really good."
I don't know how
to become a good painter.
If I work with you, I think that also
I should like... try to charm
the European side.
You know what I mean?
Does that make sense?
What do you think?
I think the world is huge, basically.
I think like... You just do your
thing, and the world is big.
It's all about making the practice
making sure that you're good,
that the work is good.
- Having time to make the work good.
- Yes.
Look at me, Apolonia.
Go in there.
And then stand in the corner over
Automatic cars, automatic
cameras, huh?
Just come here.
That's great. Look at me.
I want to do something with you.
I'd really like to have a picture
next to the butt plug.
- Mom, how are you?
- Oh great.
- Hi, how are you?
- Hi, wow.
Do you remember me? We met before.
- What's your name?
- Ada.
- What's your story?
- I'm a painter.
I wanted to do your studio visit.
Come, I want to take your picture
as well. Stand over here.
- Nice to meet you again.
- Apolonia.
Nice meeting you.
What's wrong with me?
Why am I forgetting this beautiful
You're an important person,
so you forget everybody.
I want to do a pose.
I want to get naked
in front of the butt plug.
You can do it.
You're a great photographer.
- We'll get arrested if you're naked.
- I love that.
I don't.
You want it? You really want it.
- This is a private place, right?
- Look at me.
No, it's not. It's public land.
Fuck America.
I'm gonna get naked.
Lea, let's do it.
Come and make a naked portrait
in front of this one.
And here she was.
Naked, standing tall.
I believe that what I witnessed here
was that Apolonia,
instead of selling her soul
used her body as defense.
And set herself free.
She left the U.S.
and went back to the old world.
I guess it was a coincidence
that she ended up here.
My hometown.
She also met my new boyfriend,
Andreas, who helped me film.
Sometimes there's a fine line
between coincidence and necessity.
No matter what, she was here now.
Where she and her mom, years ago,
had tried to create a life in vain.
And where she first met
the face of expulsion
as she and her mother
always were regarded as outsiders.
Those others had no room for.
I'm very nervous about
being back in Denmark.
And not being in an imaginary place.
Now I find myself in an environment
that I know very well
and it's not the unknown anymore.
So it's really not favorable
for the imagination.
I can no longer project myself
into life stories or such
because I know these people well,
and I hate them.
Hate is a very good artistic drive.
You'll do a bit of hate painting,
and it will be very good.
He'd said that the only way out
was to be really good.
But at what?
And in whose view?
Perhaps this was the exact world view
she was fighting.
That the outsider had to adapt
so as not to be burnt at the stake.
But if you no longer fear fire,
you can ignite your own flame instead
I want to work on the witches.
Because of Sankt Hans.
- It makes sense.
- Six portraits of different women.
Very like... very... subtle.
They don't look like witches
with the hat or whatever, you know?
- But still, it's about...
- I don't think the witches had a hat.
- I think Disney gave them a hat.
- Disney gave them a hat.
It makes so much sense.
Let the witches gather.
A year after she took her diploma
the selected few from Apolonia's clas
showed their works
at the big prestigious exhibition
in the center of Paris.
But Apolonia had arranged her own
little exhibition right across from
- It works this way, doesn't it?
- Sure.
The painting is good?
We'll discuss this afterwards...
The exhibition isn't good.
Stop. I can criticize without saying
that everything isn't good.
You work too fast.
Some of the paintings still need...
...several weeks of loving care.
I'm too tired
and it shows in my paintings.
I could have painted 10 a year ago,
but now...
I'm fat, I have acne. I'm feeling bad.
I paint badly, I make mistakes.
It's totally absurd.
- Don't tell anyone.
- What?
That I didn't spend enough time
on the paintings.
It's beautiful.
There's glass in this one.
- Grandma seems happy at the hospital.
- Did she have a stomach ache today?
She told me she had pain
when she stopped taking painkillers.
We should cherish the time
with grandma now.
I mean it.
Even if she says something mean...
We should make her laugh.
I mean, grandma might refuse
the chemotherapy.
What's on your mind?
Actually, nothing.
I am curious. I'm not sure.
You ought to have some profession.
Do you know that a year and a half ago
I became a professional artist?
If you personally accept it
and if this is your life's goal
then I have nothing against it.
One doesn't have to accomplish
everything in life.
Does it disturb you
that I don't have kids?
No, I am not disturbed, Apolonia.
How can it disturb me?
It's your choice not to settle down
and start a family.
It's your choice.
I can't force you to do it.
You're not 18 years old anymore.
We had this discussion
with my grandmother yesterday
where she said
it's fine if I don't have children.
She actually said it. You know?
The good things
that we've decided for our lives:
No family, no babies.
Art and creation.
Yes, it's very...
It's the only way
to survive in this world patriarchy.
- Yes.
- Yes.
- Are you going to start in school?
- Beaux-Arts.
- Congratulations.
- Yes, because I need the education.
I have the spirit and
a lot of ambition.
- But education, I need a little more.
- Nice.
- Did you call your mom?
- Two days ago, a little.
For how long?
- Five minutes.
- Five minutes?
Yeah, I will call. For the New Year,
I will call to say happy New Year.
Thank you for coming
to this Christmas Eve 2016.
I've often thought
it was time to turn off the camera.
But I always kept going...
just a little while longer.
And though I'd become pregnant, and
filming became increasingly difficult
because the paint and turpentine
made me nauseous, I kept on.
Many years have passed now,
where you have followed me.
At the same time I've followed you,
your way of living life.
- Yes.
- Now I can see you've found stability.
Now you're pregnant.
Having a child and a family.
I should too. Not have children,
but find the balance, which means
you're creating something with
your body, now that you've found
- What are you thinking about?
- I'm thinking about that...
I'm thinking about that I'll always...
I've always had a problem
with my body.
I've grown up with a sick body.
And then I didn't want
to have a body at all.
So I could paint.
Not being a woman.
Not having any gender.
But you need your body to paint,
so I should stop ignoring it.
I need to take care of myself.
I can't be a woman when I paint.
That's terrible.
I need to figure out...
...to be that.
If I'd ever dreamed
of becoming a mother...
...this was not how I'd imagined it.
I look weird.
I never once thought
it would almost cost me my own life
to create a life.
- Lea?
- Hi Api.
- Hi! So nice to hear your voice.
- And yours.
- Are you feeling better?
- Yes, I'm feeling better.
Yes, I'm feeling better.
- Are you still going through surgery?
- No.
But I will recover, which is amazing.
The bottom line is
that is was a miracle
because... 85% die
from what I went through.
- It's hardcore.
- It's extreme.
- I'm standing here with little Luca.
- Is that Luca?
He's so cute. He sounds so cute.
Yes, you have to meet him.
- Yes.
- You have to meet him.
- I've thought a lot about you.
- Stop it.
Focus on getting well.
Lea, do you remember anything
from your coma?
It was like powerful images...
...of just being alive.
Experiences with people in my life.
Stay with me.
The first thing I remember is
that Andreas is sitting next to me.
And I can feel that he's sad,
and he's crying.
Then he told me
he thought that he had lost me.
Yes... oh dear.
It seems far away now.
It's been so tough, Apolonia.
So very tough.
- You have a new boyfriend?
- Yes. He's a poet and a sculptor.
He has a daughter who's seven,
and I'm a stepmother.
Congratulations, Api! That's
wonderful. Family is so important.
It's not because
I'm walking in your footsteps.
After 36 surgical procedures,
I came back home
without a uterus, without ovaries
with damaged nerve pathways
and severed abdominal muscles
to a life on the fifth floor
with two bonus kids and a newborn.
Not allowed to lift anything
weighing more than a baby
I bought a new, lighter camera.
- Lea, is that your new camera?
- Yes!
Pretty cool, right?
Do you want to try it?
I made this picture.
This one is really old.
This is someone Lea knows...
As soon as I was able,
I went to see Apolonia in Istanbul
although I could barely walk
a few meters without severe pain.
Apolonia had got
her first big solo exhibition
with an acclaimed female gallery owne
from her own generation...
...and an abortion.
The paintings aren't finished.
It's the worst work I've done in my
When I see the paintings in the
gallery, it's so obvious.
With the light.
Could you bring a painting with you?
No? Did you say no?
- I have a life, too. Things to do.
- Yes.
Don't be mean...
- Okay. Bye then.
- I'll let you go.
It's very unequal.
This one for instance.
You can still intervene if you feel
like it. We have until Thursday.
I need to be finished by Monday.
- See you later?
- Yes.
Bye, Lea. Bye, camera.
Doesn't it look great?
There are some minor flaws
that I need to correct.
It's good.
It's a good exhibition!
"How did it all begin?"
"What led you to interact
with the female body?"
"How do you choose your models?
Does your work reflect their
"As we see in your portraits, you take
women out of social stereotypes
and physically set them free."
"How would you define
the modern woman?"
They find that my paintings
make an impact.
Apolonia was proclaimed
a frontrunner within contemporary art
The women's spring has come.
- Hi Lea.
- Hi.
I just wanted to tell you
that Oksana is dead.
She disappeared for three days...
- She hanged herself.
- No!
She wanted to die.
She succeeded this time.
Her body is with the police.
After the autopsy
we don't know if her mother wants
her body transported to Ukraine.
- I don't know what to say. I'm so...
- No...
Apolonia had seen to it
that Oksana's face was painted white
so her blackened skin could get
a goodbye kiss in the open casket.
I keep wanting to call or write her
and just tell her
that everything's okay.
Everything is taken care of.
Just come back now.
I've prepared everything.
I made your hair.
I dressed you up.
I found you an urn.
Just come back now...
I took care of your family.
They liked being here...
It's all done now...
We laid you to rest.
It's all good now. You don't need to
be afraid anymore. Everything will be
I just need to paint.
I don't care what people think of it.
It's my painting.
It's my girlfriend.
It's my...
It's my soulmate who's dead.
She left me.
Apolonia was offered an artist's
apartment on the posh side of the
Unlike her mother,
she got her name on the lease.
- Our boat.
- Our balcony.
I believe Oksana gave us
this apartment.
Because we got the call
on the day of her funeral.
Look at Azzedine's pants.
They're looking for me.
Hey, you.
- What's up?
- What's up?
Do you think I'm an ocelot?
Be careful. My makeup.
Six years after she wasn't awarded
the gold medal at the school
the French Academy awarded Apolonia
the most prestigious award
one only bestowed
on the greatest artists.
A year's residency in Rome
at Villa Medici created by the kings
to house the artists
who eternalized them.
Perhaps Apolonia had known ever since
the nuns helped her cheat death
that the images we see
create our world.
She wanted the right
to live in the world
as a free person in her own image.
No motif has caught my eye as she did
I said.
As if I knew what I was filming.
But the truth is
I never had that control.
The motif was constantly on the move.
And it took me 13 years to understand
that I had a camera
aimed at life itself.
tougher and more beautiful
than I'd ever imagined.
When I found myself
at the edge of existence
I saw nothing but life and love.
But life ends
and what remains is what we pass on.
And a painting is for eternity.
Intact with tiny cracks.
Capturing a life lived.
The kings didn't interest you either,
so you eternalize the queens instead.
Apolonia, I'm going
to turn off the camera now