Krzysztof Kieslowski – Klaps AKA Slate (1976)

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a description by one of IMdB members:
When a director films, or ‘takes’ a shot, each is identified by having a ‘slate’ or ‘clapperboard’ with the information regarding the shot written in – what shot number it is and which take it is. The clapper is used when making a sound take, the visual information of the clapper closing synchronized with the jump on the graphic read out of the sound track. The sound and visuals are recorded on different media and this is necessary to match sound and visuals or else everything would look like a poorly synced cheapo chopsocky epic. When it comes to editing the final film the states are all cut out of the film. Continue reading

Krzysztof Kieslowski – Gadajace glowy AKA Talking Heads (1980)

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a description:
It is 1979. Krzysztof Kieslowski runs a sort of sociological poll. Seventy-nine Poles, aged seven to 100, answer three questions: When were you born? What are you? What would you like most? They want similar values: freedom, justice, democracy. We watch people thinking honestly, “latching on to something Good”, as one of the persons in the film says. From those registered on tape, Kieslowski chooses 44 people and puts them in chronological order: from a one-year-old who can’t speak yet, to a 100-year-old woman who can’t hear the question, but repeats several times that she’d like to live longer. He shows a whole gallery of talking heads – kids, pupils from primary and secondary schools, students, a full-time activist with a youth organization, an engineer on the threshold of his professional career, an electrician, a nurse, a priest, a history teacher, a mother of two, a writer, a sociologist, a sculptor, a taxi driver, retired people, a woman who thinks that above all she is Catholic, and a chemical engineer who acknowledges questions with: “these days I drink, everything’s fine.” On the level of image nothing in particular is happening. Simple heads come one after another, under which there is information about the date of birth. Yet this gallery fascinates, for two reasons: the viewer observes how people’s dreams change with age. At the beginning a funny two-year-old boy wants to be car – a Syrenka, and at the end, an almost one-hundred-year-old woman, having recently lost her husband, doesn’t want anything more. Continue reading

Krzysztof Kieslowski – Bylem zolnierzem AKA I Was a Soldier (1970)

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a description by one of IMdB members:
A group of veterans recount a horrifying experience when trapped in a minefield, resulting in each losing their sight.

This is an incredibly powerful anti-war film, showing the horrors of war first hand, in stark close-ups without gratuitous gore. The physical injuries are not quite so emphasized as much as the emotional scaring, with the soldiers expressing their deep regret and longing for a better quality of life.

The film is edited in such a way that story becomes one detailed account, with each character providing his piece of the story. Their collective suffering seems akin to witnessing an AA meeting, except that this group wish to make it clear to the world that they were victims of misguided patriotism, with no control over their fate. Continue reading

Krzysztof Kieslowski – Siedem kobiet w roznym wieku AKA Seven Women of Different Ages (1978)

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a description via: link
Subtle portraits of seven women: episodes in which each day of the week shows a ballerina of classical dance at work or in rehearsal; but the ages of the dancers vary from the smallest child taking her first steps in ballet to the eldest ballerina who is now a ballet teacher. Continue reading

Krzysztof Kieslowski – Szpital AKA Hospital (1976)

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a description by one of IMdB members:
A very raw and intense look at a group of doctors who work their weekly 24 hour shifts. Starting in the morning the film follows the doctors as they treat various patients and accident victims. Laced with cynicism towards the Polish medical system, Hospital shows the non-stop grind and extreme pressures the doctors are put under. If you are squeamish, be warned. Continue reading

Krzysztof Kieslowski – Przeswietlenie AKA X-Ray (1974)

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a description by one of IMdB members:
With X-Ray I feel Kieslowski beginning to repeat himself. While his investigations of collective decision making at the workplace are superficially similar, he is mining deeper and deeper at a particular face exposing certain anomalies in Democratic Centralism. Here he collects the stories of men in a tubercular sanitarium which repeats, to a lesser effect, the methodology of Bylem zolnierzem (I Was a Soldier) (1970). After everyone has told their story, and are seen in a long shot sitting on a terrace attended by a very pretty nurse, Kieslowski delivers the punchline- a bus descends into a nearby town whose factories fill the valley with smoke containing who knows what health destroying toxins. Its all as simple as one, two, three. Continue reading

Krzysztof Kieslowski – Refren AKA Refrain (1972)

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a description by one of IMdB members:

Though this film illustrates how death has been reduced to ‘The Numbers’ it is implied at the end that both life and death have been reduced to the numbers. This film is uniquely shot from the point-of-view of the bureaucrats whose job it is to deregistrant the living to give their survivors permission to buy things like graves, coffins etc. The first image is of tearing out the pictures from identity books. It seems to be some weirdly arcane quasi-religious ritual whose purpose is at once obvious and inexplicable.

The frisson of this film is having the usual bureaucratic rigmarole, petty rules and arbitrary specifications implemented by some not so very terrible people, come up against people at their most vulnerable and emotional condition. These people have just had a loved one die and they are being dealt with by the book, by the numbers.

Background music, when its heard, is a harpsichord concerto. Continue reading