Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

[Decalogue] Bringing It All Together...

11 posts in this topic

Posted · Report post

--content deleted--

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

I just watched the special features included with the Facets version, and I found a couple of things to be quite startling.

For one thing, Kieslowski is asked by a panelist on a Polish TV program called 100 Questions whether he believed in the power of The Dekalog to mobilize "our tired, befuddled society."

"No, I don't," he responded. "I don't believe in anything at all. I don't believe film has any motivational power or role. I absolutely do not believe this."

He clarified slightly by saying that it's possible that someone could be moved to do some reflecting after watching these films.

The journalist (or, at least, panelist) said, "I don't believe you are being sincere." And Kieslowski responded that the reason he makes films is because he doesn't have another profession. (??!)

Another question came regarding A SHORT FILM ABOUT KILLING. He denied that it was about capital punishment ("It's about killing").

Q: Did you want to mobilize people?

A: No. You don't understand. You assume that I wanted to accomplish something. Well, let me tell you something. I did not want to accomplish anything, because you can't accomplish anything through film...

...I'm not going to change anything through a movie - I have no such delusions.

Q: What did you want to say?

A: If I could answer in one sentence, I wouldn't need to make the film. Do you know how much trouble it is to take the camera out and set it up with filters?

Overall, Kieslowski seemed to resist categorization and interpretation, sparring lightly over questions and correcting quoted comments.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

Yeah, that was wonderful. He's quite without pretension. It's the filmmaker's job to make films, and then they can leave the pulling-apart and agenda-making to the critics.

That last quote you posted, Tim, about "if I could tell you in one sentence, I wouldn't need to make the film", that's everything right there. Everything. Beautiful...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited) · Report post

I went into The Decalogue with the impression that many characters reappeared in more than one episode, and imagined a spectacular and intricate interweaving of lives and stories. Unfortunately, not so: that wonderful series of films remains to be made. I worked my way through the cast lists of the various episodes of this wonderful series of films and turned up the following multiple appearances;

Multiple Appearances

Artur Barcis (1 Man in the sheepskin, 3 Tram Driver; 2,4,5,6,8,9 as "Young Man")

Krystyna Janda (2 Dorota, 5 Taxi Woman)

Olgierd Lukaszewicz (2 Andrzej, 5 Taxi man)

Stanislaw Gawlik (2 unnamed, 6 Postman)

Krzysztof Kumor 2, 3

Joanna Szcxepkowska (3 Janusz's wife, Unnamed 8)

Jan Tesarz (4 Taxi driver, 5 Taxi Driver)

Olaf Lubaszenko (6 Tomek, 10 Tomek)

Piotr Machalica (6 Roman, 9 Roman)

Katarzyna Piwowarczyk (7 Ania, 9 Ania)

So even apart from "The Watcher" (Artur Barcis), every episode includes at least one character from another episode, but nobody appears in more than two apart from "The Watcher." As far as "The Watcher" is concerned, here's what Joseph G. Kickasola writes in a footnote to the article posted at metaphilm;

Kieslowski experienced technical difficulties including him in Decalogue VII, and chose not to show him amid the dark-humor atmosphere of X, a decision he later regretted (in Stok, Kieslowski on Kieslowski, 158)
Edited by Ron

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

Tim, that interview is hilarious, isn't it? I've never seen a filmmaker intentionally frustrate a groups of press more successfully.

You have to understand that Kieslowski was a born contrarian--it's one of the things that makes the ethical and emotional conundrums in his films so provocative. He was also a very sober thinker, thus making him speak about the potential of his films in very modest, lucid terms.

He shocked the international film community when he announced his retirement at age 53 at the Cannes premiere of Red. When asked what he would do with his remaining life, he insisted he was merely going to sit in a chair and smoke. At the end of the documentary I'm So-So, he says he'll do "nothing"; just sit on a bench. Suddenly the cameraman notices that the composition is wrong because Kieslowski's watch is reflecting light into the camera and asks to reshoot the scene. Kieslowski agrees and the interviewer again asks Kieslowski what he will do with his remaining life. "Nothing right now," he says, "I'm writing a film manuscript. I have appointments. Maybe a film will be made on it. Perhaps it will lead to something. We'll see." There is a pause. "Tell us about the bench?" the interviewer asks. "What bench?" Kieslowski says, and everyone begins to laugh. "Why do you sit on it?" "That was just something I said."

As it turns out, he was working on a whole new trilogy of films with Piesiewicz; however, he died following heart surgery a year later.

So I must confess that I'm more in line with the journalist who says, "I don't believe you are being sincere." I think that's true to a large extent.

As to his profession, he often remarked that he made films because it was the only thing he knew how do to. When martial law was declared in Poland in the early '80s, and all filmmaking was shut down, he tried getting a job as a taxi driver. Kieslowski always emphasized filmmaking as a profession and difficult physical labor, early mornings, and solving problems. He never liked to talk philosophically about his work.

As to denying the film was about capital punishment, I've always been under the impression that his comments--and the film's own structure--reflect the adage, "Why do we kill people who kill people to teach people that killing is wrong?" A short film about killing, indeed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited) · Report post

Does anybody think that The Decalogue will be eclipsed by this? It seems is due out in DVD next week. Adjust your netflix queues.

Hmm. Netflix doesn't seem to have it.

Edited by Darrel Manson

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

Alan Thomas wrote:

: Val Kilmer? Is this a staged version of The Prince of Egypt?

Nope, wrong composer(s). (FWIW, I mentioned this musical a year and a half ago at my blog.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

Is there a list of where the Watcher appears in each episode? I watched episodes 2 and 3 this weekend but didn't see him in either one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited) · Report post

Regarding the man, from Ebert's review:

There is a young man who appears in eight of them, a solemn onlooker who never says anything but sometimes makes sad eye contact. I thought perhaps he represented Christ, but Kieslowski, in an essay about the series, says, "I don't know who he is; just a guy who comes and watches us, our lives. He's not very pleased with us." Directors are notorious for not pinning down the meanings of their images. I like the theory of Annette Insdorf, in her valuable book about Kieslowski, Double Lives, Second Chances; she compares the watcher to the angels in Wim Wenders' "Wings of Desire," who are "pure gaze"--able to "record human folly and suffering but unable to alter the course of the lives they witness."

From what I can gather at IMDB, so take this with a grain of salt, although I do remember some of it as being accurate:

"The name of the actor is Artur Barcis."

1 - guy by fire

2 - hospital orderly

3 - Train driver that the protagonist nearly runs into

4 - canoe guy

5 - construction road blocker

6 - traveling home in apartment building

7 - "According to Kieslowski all of the close-up shots of the man came out poorly so while nobody could actually tell, without reading the script or interviews, the man actually IS in this one. When the real mother runs onto the train he's way in the background as a man with crutches getting off the train at the same time. The idea being that those who try to escape on the train will come back broken."

8 - student in classroom

9 - bicycle guy

10 - He is not found in episode 10..."Kieslowski himself said it was probably a mistake to leave him out."

(Quotes from posters there)

I got to see all ten of these in order at Facets theater in Chicago years ago. It was an amazing experience, one of the best film experiences I've ever had. I own the DVD box set but haven't ever watched it again. I do feel like this be fun to revisit soon.

Edit: Just read Ron's post above which shows all of the characters' varied appearances. Awesome post, now that really makes me want to revisit this and pay close attention to these appearances.

Edited by Persona

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

Regarding the man, from Ebert's review:

There is a young man who appears in eight of them, a solemn onlooker who never says anything but sometimes makes sad eye contact. I thought perhaps he represented Christ, but Kieslowski, in an essay about the series, says, "I don't know who he is; just a guy who comes and watches us, our lives. He's not very pleased with us." Directors are notorious for not pinning down the meanings of their images. I like the theory of Annette Insdorf, in her valuable book about Kieslowski, Double Lives, Second Chances; she compares the watcher to the angels in Wim Wenders' "Wings of Desire," who are "pure gaze"--able to "record human folly and suffering but unable to alter the course of the lives they witness."

From what I can gather at IMDB, so take this with a grain of salt, although I do remember some of it as being accurate:

"The name of the actor is Artur Barcis."

1 - guy by fire

2 - hospital orderly

3 - Train driver that the protagonist nearly runs into

4 - canoe guy

5 - construction road blocker

6 - traveling home in apartment building

7 - "According to Kieslowski all of the close-up shots of the man came out poorly so while nobody could actually tell, without reading the script or interviews, the man actually IS in this one. When the real mother runs onto the train he's way in the background as a man with crutches getting off the train at the same time. The idea being that those who try to escape on the train will come back broken."

8 - student in classroom

9 - bicycle guy

10 - He is not found in episode 10..."Kieslowski himself said it was probably a mistake to leave him out."

(Quotes from posters there)

I got to see all ten of these in order at Facets theater in Chicago years ago. It was an amazing experience, one of the best film experiences I've ever had. I own the DVD box set but haven't ever watched it again. I do feel like this be fun to revisit soon.

Edit: Just read Ron's post above which shows all of the characters' varied appearances. Awesome post, now that really makes me want to revisit this and pay close attention to these appearances.

Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

If you're interested in the Decalogue, particularly the 5th one, I recommend you take a look at this movie:

theevangelistmovie.wordpress.com

www.evangelistmovie.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0