Tag Archives: Krzysztof Piesiewicz

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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The Decalogue: Six (1990, Krzysztof Kieslowski)

Six is a mess and it shouldn’t be, because at the center of it director Kieslowski has this phenomenal performance from Grazyna Szapolowska. He opens with her (doing some hippy thing where she “blesses” her food), then moves the story to her stalker, played by Olaf Lubaszenko.

Now, what eventually happens is Janet Leigh comes on to Norman Bates and he tries to kill himself and she realizes her wanton slutty modern woman ways have taken away her chance for godly happiness.

Along the way, there’s some truly amazing acting from Szapolowska and all these missed opportunities in Krzysztof Piesiewicz and Kieslowski’s script. Half the film goes to Lubaszenko peeping on her (it’d have been more effective, after all the melodramatics, if it had just been this odd stalking movie), then everything else is rushed. Including, unfortunately, when Szapolowska starts stalking him back.

Szapolowska’s performance deserved a far better script.

1/3Not Recommended

CREDITS

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

Starring Grazyna Szapolowska (Magda), Olaf Lubaszenko (Tomek), Stefania Iwinska (Godmother), Artur Barcis (Young Man), Stanislaw Gawlik (Postman) and Piotr Machalica (Roman).


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