Tag Archives: Krzysztof Kieslowski

The Decalogue: Ten (1989, Krzysztof Kieslowski)

Part of me desperately wants Ten to be intentionally over the top. The episode opens with a song about breaking the Ten Commandments. The Decalogue. And then the rest of it is just more of wondering if director Kieslowski and co-writer Krzysztof Piesiewicz are serious.

The episode is about two brothers–straight-laced, boring Jerzy Stuhr and–literally–a punk rock star played by Zbigniew Zamachowski. Zamachowski is the good looking one, Stuhr is the heavy. You know he’s the heavy because Kieslowski gives him a couple absurd tough guy scenes. Why are there tough guy scenes?

Because the brothers’ father has just died, reuniting them, and they discover he had a million dollar stamp collection. It’s de facto zany, only Kieslowski refuses to acknowledge the absurdity.

Ten’s also not well-made. Jacek Blawut’s photography is terrible, Zbigniew Preisner’s music’s weak, Kieslowski’s composition, the acting. It’s tragically awful.

1/3Not Recommended

CREDITS

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

Starring Jerzy Stuhr (Jerzy), Zbigniew Zamachowski (Artur), Henryk Bista (Shopkeeper), Olaf Lubaszenko (Tomek) and Maciej Stuhr (Piotrek).


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The Decalogue: Nine (1990, Krzysztof Kieslowski)

With Nine, writers Krzysztof Piesiewicz and Krzysztof Kieslowski have finally figured out how to parody themselves and the rest of The Decalogue. This entry, overwrought from the opening titles, is awful, but Piesiewicz and Kieslowski never quite commit to the more melodramatic, soap opera plotting they could. And Nine suffers for it.

Piotr Machalica is a successful surgeon who finds out he’s impotent. He dreads telling his wife (played by Ewa Blaszczyk in one of the more thankless roles in film history) because she obviously won’t love him anymore. Kieslowski’s direction hammers in all the symbolism–it becomes absurdist by the end (Nine actually plays far better as a comedy)–but he’s never able to establish any chemistry whatsoever between Machalica and Blaszczyk.

And why would there be any? She’s an awful, heartless woman; he’s a martyr for manhood.

Nine’s really lame. I’m actually surprised how bad it gets.

1/3Not Recommended

CREDITS

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

Starring Piotr Machalica (Roman), Ewa Blaszczyk (Hanka), Jolanta Pietek-Górecka (Ola) and Jan Jankowski (Mariusz).


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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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