the-dekalog

"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

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Krzysztof Kieślowski on the set of ‘A Short Film About Killing’ (‘Krótki film o zabijaniu’). Written by Krzysztof Kieślowski and Krzysztof Piesiewicz, the film was expanded from ‘Decalogue V’ of Kieślowski’s masterpiece television series ‘The Decalogue’ (‘Dekalog’). Stanley Kubrick described ‘Dekalog’ as the only masterpiece he could name in his lifetime.

“Regardless of the subject of my films… I am looking for a way of evoking in audiences feelings similar to my own: the physically painful impotence and sorrow that assail me when I see a man weeping at the bus stop, when I observe people struggling vainly to get close to others, when I see someone eating up the left-overs in a cheap restaurant, when I see the first blotches on a woman’s hand and know that she too is bitterly aware of them, when I see the kind of appalling and irreparable injustice that so visibly scars the human face. I want this pain to come across to my audience, to see this physical agony, which I think I am beginning to fathom, to seep into my work.”

‘A Short Film About Decalogue: An Interview with Krzysztof Kieslowski’ is an attempt to examine the universal messages offered by ‘Dekalog,’ as well as it’s idiosyncrasies. A must watch for fans of Kieślowski, and indeed fans of film in general. [Samuel Beckett]

“To tell you the truth, in my work, love is always in opposition to the elements. It creates dilemmas. It brings in suffering. We can’t live with it, and we can’t live without it. You’ll rarely find a happy ending in my work.”

(When asked what a director does) “I help.” —Krzysztof Kieślowski

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I like Chance meetings – life is full of them. Everyday, without realizing it, I pass people whome I should know. At this moment, in this café, we’re sitting next to strangers. Everyone will get up, leave, and go on their own way. And they’ll never meet again. And if they do, they won’t realize that it’s not for the first time.

-Krzysztof Kieslowski (June 27 1941-March 13 1996)

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.

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