“So we wanted to begin each film in a way which suggested that the main character had been picked by the camera as if at random… In the end we decided to locate the action in a large housing estate, with thousands of similar windows framed in the establishing shot. It’s the most beautiful housing estate in Warsaw, which is why I chose it. It looks pretty awful so you can imagine what the others are like.” – Krzysztof Kieślowski
Many years ago, Krzysztof Kieślowski’s The Decalogue changed my stupid little life. The series is Kieślowski’s most acclaimed work, possibly “the best dramatic work ever done specifically for television” and has won numerous international awards, though it was not widely released outside Europe until the late 1990s. In his book Eyes Wide Open, Frederick Raphael reported that, while discussing Eyes Wide Shut, Stanley Kubrick said The Decalogue was the best thing he’d seen in years, and he wished he had made it himself. Kubrick wrote an admiring foreword to the published screenplay in 1991.
All the episodes are available on YouTube with English subtitles. The Decalogue (Special Edition Complete Set) (1988) on Amazon.
“It comes from a deep-rooted conviction that if there is anything worthwhile doing for the sake of culture, then it is touching on subject matters and situations which link people, and not those that divide people. There are too many things in the world which divide people, such as religion, politics, history, and nationalism. If culture is capable of anything, then it is finding that which unites us all. And there are so many things which unite people. It doesn’t matter who you are or who I am, if your tooth aches or mine, it’s still the same pain. Feelings are what link people together, because the word ‘love’ has the same meaning for everybody. Or ‘fear’, or ‘suffering’. We all fear the same way and the same things. And we all love in the same way. That’s why I tell about these things, because in all other things I immediately find division.”