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 – Krótki film o zabijaniu AKA A Short Film About Killing [+Extras] (1988)

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(Noel Megahey, DVD Times)

A Short Film About Killing started out as the fifth episode of Dekalog (Decalogue/The Ten Commandments), a series of ten short films co-written and directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski for Polish television in 1988. Dekalog 5: Thou Shalt Not Kill when expanded to a feature length film as A Short Film About Killing, loses none of its power and remains one of the most important and intensely powerful episodes from a cycle of films that dealt with many complex issues affecting our daily lives. Continue reading

Krzysztof Kieslowski – Krótki film o milosci aka A Short Film About Love (1988)

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Krzysztof Kieslowski’s A Short Film About Love is a companion piece not only to the landmark 1988 Dekalog miniseries, from which this expanded version originally came, but also the likewise enriched and deepened A Short Film About Killing. (It’s worth noting here that even if you’ve already seen the segment this film is based on in its original form, side-by-side with the other nine parts, the radically different and far more redemptive ending makes Love worth seeing separately.) Like all the episodes of the Dekalog, it purports to take its inspiration from one of the Ten Commandments, but in practice the segments only deal with a rigid moral law in the most obtuse and poetic way. Love dealt with the sixth commandment (against fornication), but the story of Tomek, a late-teen voyeur obsessed with Magda, a voluptuous and sexually mature woman living in an apartment across the courtyard from him, is far less brusque than its textual antecedent would indicate (though Kieslowski’s viewpoint certainly stresses a strain of auteurist omniscience and acumen). 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