For the founding fathers of the Soviet Union, religion was a fable devised by the ruling class to assuage worker and peasant discontent with the consoling dream of recompense in an afterlife. Repentance may be the title of Tenghiz Abuladze's 1984 film, but the religious term functions primarily as a strong indicator of the attitude Soviet officialdom ought to take to the 'crimes and deformations' of its Stalinist past. Where religious praxis is itself defined as oppositional, the artists of a post-Romantic era feel an attraction to it; and all the more so when, as in Poland, their entire artistic tradition had been deeply marked by Romanticism. Romanticism had influenced both the typical concepts and the formal procedures of Polish art. American Beauty stretches the moment of death into an eternity of recollection.