Synopsis by Nathan Southern
From his birth in 1895 through his death in 1968, the gifted Polish naïve artist Nikifor Krynicki (AKA Epifan Drowniak) lived his life and eked out a career cloaked in obscurity - a casualty of both his extreme speech impediment (his tongue was attached to the roof of his mouth, which prompted others to errantly tag him as mentally incapacitated) and his self-effacing decision to sell the majority of his work for meager amounts. Krzysztof Krauze's biopic My Nikifor travels to the tail end of Krynicki's (Krystyna Feldman) life journey, dramatizing the period that surrounded his interaction with the well-established artist Marian Wlosinski (Roman Gancarczyk). The film witnesses Nikifor moving into Marian's workspace in the winter of 1960, and roundly dazzling Wlosinski with talent that obviously outstripped his own - despite the fact that Nikifor, unlike Marian, never received formalized training in the arts. This prompts not only mutual professional respect between the two painters, but encourages the gestation of a friendship between the two men. In time, however, a dark cloud soon extends itself over the Wlosinski household when it becomes apparent that Nikifor has contracted tuberculosis - making him contagious to nearly everyone and putting Marian's entire family in danger. Moreover, Marian's marriage begins to show signs of strain when his wife, Hania (Lucyna Malec) loudly complains that he needs to spend less time with his new friend Nikifor and more time with their daughters.
painting, speech-impediment, tuberculosis