The Ten Commandments, exact and uncompromising, literally cast in stone, continues to provide a source of moral conflict in contemporary society. In the ten part epic masterpiece, Decalogue, Krzysztof Kieslowski examines the dilemma of fundamental sin in the lives of ordinary Warsaw citizens. A scientist (Henryk Baranowski) puts his faith in science and logic to govern daily life (Decalogue I). A violinist (Krystyna Janda), unable to decide between her husband and her lover, defers the impossible decision to her husband’s attending physician (Aleksander Bardini) (Decalogue II). A lonely woman (Maria Pakulnis) imposes on an ex-lover (Daniel Olbrychski) on Christmas Eve to search for her missing lover (Decalogue III). An acting student (Adrianna Biedrzynska) discovers an ominous letter from her father (Janusz Gajos) (Decalogue IV). Continue reading
Dekalog was made for Polish TV as a series of ten films, each just under an hour in length, inspired by one of the Ten Commandments (the Decalogue), set in contemporary Warsaw in and around the same apartment block. Dekalog V and VI also exist in re-edited versions just under an hour and a half each for cinema release, under the titles A Short Film About Killing and A Short Film About Love respectively.
As well as being set in and around the same apartment block, the films are linked in other ways. Major characters in one part make walk-ons in another. An ethical dilemma mentioned by one of Zofia’s students in VIII is the very one that drives the plot of II. And in all but two of the films there appears a mysterious young man (Artur Barcis), who appears, looking on, at important moments. Continue reading
Based on the short story A Step Beyond the Gate / Krok za brame by Lech Borski).
A television feature that is considered to have been one of the pioneering films in the cinema of moral anxiety. The story of worker Antoni Gralak who is released from prison and wishes to settle down to a calm life. He fails to find peace though he does find a woman to marry and a place to live. The realities of the Polish People’s Republic cause him to enter into conflict with his construction worker colleagues who decide at one point to organise a strike, and with the manager of the construction site who wishes to make an informer of him. These complications conclude tragically. Premiered on television in 1980. @culture.pl
The concluding chapter in filmmaker Krzysztof Kieslowski’s “Three Colors” trilogy, Red stars the luminous Irène Jacob as Valentine, a young student and fashion model who befriends a bitter former judge (Jean-Louis Trintignant, his character a proxy for Kieslowski himself). Their accidental meeting is just one of the many chance encounters woven through the narrative fabric of this feature, the most accomplished effort in Kieslowski’s highly ambitious series. Like its predecessors, Red corresponds to a color of the French flag, as well as the color’s symbolic attributes. The subject here is fraternity, and indeed, its central characters are all closely connected, their destinies locked on a collision course. The film’s final scene even ties up the trilogy by bringing together the protagonists of the other features.
~ Jason Ankeny, All Movie Guide Continue reading
Review (Leo Goldsmith)
Films made under the state socialist regimes of Eastern Europe in the mid-twentieth century tend to fall roughly into two categories: the rigidly institutional and the scathingly anti-establishment. These films either serve to trumpet the cause of Communism or else find ways to avoid or subvert its conventions. The early films of Krzysztof Kieslowski present a slightly different alternative. On the one hand, these films duck the scrutiny of government censors with minute, incisive portraits of the system’s failings; but on the other, they tend to humanize and complicate the causes of these failings. Rather than make the system seem a corrupt, faceless entity, Kieslowski’s early films present a collection of individuals whose personal problems and shortcomings compose this system and thereby bring about its failure. Continue reading
Review:(Noel Megahey, DVD Times)
It all starts when Filip Mosz (Jerzy Stuhr) buys a little 8mm movie camera to film his new-born baby. Like a true enthusiast, Filip enters into the spirit of his new hobby, filming everything that moves and working on the material on a small editing suite. When he is commissioned by his boss to film a reception being held to commemorate the company’s 25th anniversary, he becomes aware of the pressures of outside expectations and even censorship. The film however gets entered into an amateur film festival and wins third prize (second prize really since none were judged good enough to win first prize!) and he soon finds himself caught up in the world of TV and film-making, helped by an attractive film producer. Suddenly he finds that his new hobby isn’t compatible with the responsibilities of bringing up a small child, nor is it compatible with the wishes of his employer. Continue reading
Presents highlights of a workshop for young directors conducted by the Polish director Krzysztof Kiewslowski (1941-1996) in Amsterdam during the summer of 1994. The theme of the workshop was the direction of actors. For a fortnight, various groups worked every day on a scene from Ingmar Bergman’s scenario `Scenes from a Marriage’. The sessions with the directors Leif Magnusson and Francesco Ranieri Martinotti were filmed for the documentary, and an interview with Kieslowski was filmed before the sessions. The workshop was entitled `Six Actors in Seach of a Director’. The actors were Reinout Bussemaker, Pamela Knaack, Shaun Lawton, Matthias Maat, Dulcie Smart and Nelleke Zitman. Continue reading