Andrzej Wajda, one of Poland’s greatest filmmakers, closed out his long career with this unusually personal and despairing biopic of the avant-garde painter Władysław Strzemiński. Missing his left arm and right leg, Strzemiński (Bogusław Linda) is adored by his young students at the State Higher School of Visual Arts in Lodz, but his life and career begin to fall apart in 1950 after the communist ministry of culture announces a campaign in favor of pro-Soviet social realism and against “formalistic and cynical art.” Wajda spent the first four decades of his career trying to make art under communist rule, which gives this story an emotional edge lacking in some of his more recent outings. One striking scene shows Strzemiński wrestling to get his ideas onto a canvas when the entire room goes red: outside his window, party officials have dropped a giant banner for a patriotic demonstration. The painter’s last two years were a slow, merciless degradation, and Wajda, to his credit, follows Strzemiński all the way down. In Polish with subtitles.