Tag Archives: Halina Dobrowolska

The Decalogue: Eight (1990, Krzysztof Kieslowski)

Eight is, unquestionably, great. At a certain point, it got good. And then Kieslowski didn’t screw up it being good. It started with problems, of course. The episode opens with Maria Koscialkowska as a lonely old college professor. Until Teresa Marczewska, a younger woman, shows up out of the blue to observe a class, it’s boring. It’s an ethics class. Where Kieslowski makes a reference to another episode of The Decalogue and all of a sudden he lets off some steam. For the first time ever.

That release of pressure, along with Koscialkowska’s fantastic performance, lets Kieslowski and co-writer Piesiewicz make the fantastical real and solid. And that reference to the other episode helps with it.

Then it keeps going and it keeps getting better and better. After twenty-two minutes, Kieslowski hits every note. Though it’s because Koscialkowska and Marczewska are great. Their performances make Eight something spectacular.

3/3Highly Recommended

CREDITS

Directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski; written by Krzysztof Piesiewicz and Kieslowski; director of photography, Andrzej Jaroszewicz; edited by Ewa Smal; music by Zbigniew Preisner; production designer, Halina Dobrowolska; produced by Ryszard Chutkowski; released by Warner Bros.

Starring Maria Koscialkowska (Zofia), Teresa Marczewska (Elzbieta) and Tadeusz Lomnicki (the tailor).


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The Decalogue: Seven (1990, Krzysztof Kieslowski)

Seven is definitely one of the stronger Decalogue films, but Kieslowski can’t figure out what his best angle is into the story. The story is the thing of melodrama and soap opera–Maja Barelkowska’s character had a secret baby (fathered by her young teacher, Boguslaw Linda); her mother (Anna Polony) raised her granddaughter as her daughter. Barelkowska wants her back.

Kieslowski and Krzysztof Piesiewicz’s script has way too much exposition–there are two or three scenes where everything stops so the characters talk about the past–but it’s pretty good when it comes to the characters acting in the present. And Kieslowski’s foreshadowing is mostly successful.

What isn’t successful is how Kieslowski and Piesiewicz treat Barelkowska. They can’t decide if she’s the victim or the villain. Never do they make her the protagonist. As a result, her performance’s weak. Everyone else is great though. Especially Katarzyna Piwowarczyk as the child.

2/3Recommended

CREDITS

Directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski; written by Krzysztof Piesiewicz and Kieslowski; director of photography, Dariusz Kuc; edited by Ewa Smal; music by Zbigniew Preisner; production designer, Halina Dobrowolska; produced by Ryszard Chutkowski; released by Warner Bros.

Starring Anna Polony (Ewa), Maja Barelkowska (Majka), Wladyslaw Kowalski (Stefan), Boguslaw Linda (Wojtek) and Katarzyna Piwowarczyk (Ania).


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The Decalogue: Five (1990, Krzysztof Kieslowski)

One has to admire Kieslowski’s dedication to his goal. Sure, Five–which is the “Thou shall not kill” episode of “The Decalogue”–is a terrible rumination on the death penalty, but Kieslowski is all in. For his flashback, he does a whole sepia tone filter thing. It’s not good in terms of how it shapes the film, but it’s competently executed by Slawomir Idziak. Sometimes even really well executed.

The sepia tone isn’t enough, however. The foreshadowing explaining why Miroslaw Baka just has to plot to murder a taxi driver (after causing a traffic accident from an overpass because he’s bored) gets repeated in the conclusion, in painfully bad exposition. For most of Five, Baka is a disaffected, sullen sociopathic punk rock kid. At the end, he’s the pleading Catholic who has lost his way.

And Kieslowski really misses the boat with Krzysztof Globisz’s crusading attorney.

Five’s a dreadful hour.

1/3Not Recommended

CREDITS

Directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski; written by Krzysztof Piesiewicz and Kieslowski; director of photography, Slawomir Idziak; edited by Ewa Smal; music by Zbigniew Preisner; production designer, Halina Dobrowolska; produced by Ryszard Chutkowski; released by Warner Bros.

Starring Miroslaw Baka (Lazar Jacek), Krzysztof Globisz (Piotr), Jan Tesarz (Taxi Driver), Zbigniew Zapasiewicz (Police Inspector) and Barbara Dziekan (Cashier).


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The Decalogue: Two (1990, Krzysztof Kieslowski)

This episode of “The Decalogue” is a quiet, thoughtful story about a doctor and the wife of one of his patients. They’re neighbors, which puts them in an uncomfortable proximity as the wife has a secret from her husband and forces the doctor into her confidence.

The scenes between these characters–the doctor played by Aleksander Bardini, the wife by Krystyna Janda–amount for probably fifteen minutes of Two. The film runs almost an hour; most of the time, Kieslowski is examining Bardini and Janda. He applies a different level of focus throughout; Janda isn’t clear until the end, but Bardini’s character’s most telling scene is his first. There’s more exposition later, further exploration into his life to explain him, but it’s not telling, just interesting.

And beautifully acted. Kieslowski never goes overboard with symbolism, but Two wouldn’t work near as well without the fantastic performances from Bardini and Janda.

3/3Highly Recommended

CREDITS

Directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski; written by Kieslowski and Krzysztof Piesiewicz; directors of photography, Edward Klosinski and Wieslaw Zdort; edited by Ewa Smal; music by Zbigniew Preisner; production designer, Halina Dobrowolska; produced by Ryszard Chutkowski; released by Warner Bros.

Starring Krystyna Janda (Dorota Geller), Aleksander Bardini (Doctor) and Olgierd Lukaszewicz (Andrzej Geller).


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