Legendary director Andrzej Wajda's final film is a passionate portrait of renowned avantgarde painter Wladyslaw Strzeminski, who challenged Stalinist orthodoxy. In post-war Poland, Strzeminski works as a professor at the National School of Fine Arts in Lodz. His students treat him like the "messiah of modern painting," but university authorities and the Ministry of Culture have a differing opinion. Refusing to comply with Party regulations, he is eventually expelled from the university and the artists' union. As the Communist authorities continue their efforts to ruin him, Strzeminski remains steadfast in his political and artistic convictions.