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.
Straight to Camera: Magnus von Horn, Director
“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.
The Here After combines Scandinavian aesthetics and storytelling with the emotional ‘Power of Much’ Polish cinema. Magnus von Horn was born in Sweden but his film, though set in Sweden, came into being in Poland. Magnus’ filmmaking has been shaped at the Łódź Film School, which is reflected in all his short films, as well as in his debut feature.
The Here After is the fruit of the friendship of two graduates of the Polish Film School – Magnus von Horn and Mariusz Włodarski, who started working together during their studies, getting to know each other and each other’s working methods. The debut was supported by Madeleine Ekman who joined the friendship, adding her experience, energy and optimism. Together they created a one of a kind Polish-Swedish team.