Over a period of 13 years, Lea Glob created a dynamic and personal portrayal of Apolonia Sokol, a figurative painter. The film also tracks the growth of both women – Sokol in front of the camera and Glob behind it. Sokol, who was raised in a bohemian Parisian theater by her parents, appears to have a predetermined path towards becoming an artist. However, her path to success is not without its challenges.
Sokol, a graduate of the renowned École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris, possesses an alternative perspective. In the face of eviction, she transformed her dilapidated childhood theater into a refuge for performers and activists. Through her large-scale paintings, she captures her friends and acquaintances in moments of rest, despite her own ever-active nature. She continuously leaps from one adventure to the next, including a sponsorship from collector Stefan Simchowitz, infamously known as “The Art World’s Patron Satan” by the New York Times. However, his method of assembly-line artistic patronage, requiring Sokol to produce 10 paintings within a month, quickly disillusioned her.
This section of Sokol’s life effectively exposes the hypocritical nature of the capitalist world of art, always on the lookout for new young talent to exploit. However, the tone of Glob’s film is not cynical, but rather remains hopeful and inspiring as Sokol forges her own unique path. As Sokol’s artistic style evolves, Glob’s direction also becomes more confident and cohesive. The initial scattered narration from the filmmaker gives way to a more stylistically cohesive approach. Gradually, Glob’s words move beyond simply narrating Sokol’s life and instead offer philosophical reflections on an unconventional friendship, womanhood, and the complexities of living.