[Decalogue] Episode VI
Posted 02 December 2003 - 01:20 PM
Posted 08 December 2003 - 09:55 AM
Posted 08 December 2003 - 12:13 PM
Posted 08 December 2003 - 01:43 PM
Baugh talks at length about Tomek as a Christ Figure, but I just don't get it. I've not seen "A Short Film about Love" only the dekalog version, but I dunno I guess I just find it hard to see Jesus as a voyeur.
A masturbating voyeur at that. I think Tomak aided in removing her from a life of emptiness but only by introducing love or the idea of love. She didn't believe it existed and went about trying to convince him as well. She was looking for something to fill the gap in her life that she refused to call love. She was using sex as a means of fulfillment or attention. We never see any money exchange hands so I do not believe her to be a prostitute.
When that love she was experiencing from Tomek disappeared she felt it. She began to believe that love did exist and that someone was offering it to her without expectation. When it was gone she was lost all of the sudden and devastated.
The last frame of this episode said it all. The look on Magda’s face revealed her loss as well as the degree of that loss. She abused the love of another and it cost her everything.
Russell Lucas (unregistered)
Posted 08 December 2003 - 02:34 PM
Posted 08 December 2003 - 03:53 PM
Well, I don't know what Baugh said to support his point, so I'm uneasy about defending or attacking his argument without more details. All the same, let's not take the parallel to an unproductive degree. Obviously Tomek is not sinless. And to what degree is the argument made based on the A Short Film... version?
I absolutely agree that we shouldn't take this to an unproductive degree. I wasn't attempting to use Tomek's sin as a defense against a Christ like figure I was only stating that although he may have been a means to save her from her current life I do not think that was his intention as much as he wanted to express his love for her.
After watching her for so long he certainly could have seen how unhappy she was and determined to save her but I think, being young, he simpy fell in love with her because he watched every aspect of her life. She was an artist and while watching her create he could have seen through the windows of her being as clearly as her bedroom window.
Posted 08 December 2003 - 04:10 PM
Matt: Sam Goldwyn is the initial source of your quote, not Lynch.
Asher: Groucho is spelled with a "u".
Posted 10 December 2003 - 05:32 AM
: Obviously Tomek is not sinless.
I'm not really meaning to, I'm just saying I'm uncomfortable with it & don't really buy it as a result.
: although he mave have been a means to save her from her current life
: I do not think that was his intention as much as he wanted to express
: his love for her.
I think I'd go with that too. Essentially Tomek acts primarily in his own interests. I don't think Christ does. Also I don't find much parallel between Jesus's love and (well lets say I'm not a believer in love at first sight) a mix of attraction, lust, fascination & possibly obsession.
But then if...
: Baugh's argument stems completely from A Short Film About Love,
: which again, is a very different narrative than Decalogue: Six. I don't
: think the same argument for Tomek could really be applied in The
...then that would explain it.
Posted 08 February 2005 - 10:06 AM
I would take contention with what you said about self respect with regards to love and sex. I can't think of a single incident where Magda demonstrates a lack of self respect. She has casual sex, but she is decidedly in contol of these situations and from what we are shown, enjoys them. Does this necesarily equal lack of self respect or is it a different understanding of sexuality? Similarly in day to day life she carries herself with a lot of respect - I would even say pride, which opens up a whole other can of worms. However, to say that she lacks self-respect, is unhappy, I don't think pans out. She cries in one scene following an argument with her ex/boyfriend, but then don't most people in those situations? Otherwise she is highly independent, finds fullfilment in her work, and no doubt sexual fullfilment in her sex life (that this then automatically means she is substituting sex for another form of fullfilment is perhaps being too liberal with one's interpretation - and perhaps judgement - of this character). She even turns around her position as "victim" - i.e. she does not allow herself to be simply someone who has been stalked, watched, she becomes active and takes control of the situation. Not the action of someone that lacks self respect, in my view.
I would, however, more or less agree with your assessment of Tomek's lack of self respect. I would go a little further than that, though - it is as if he is a void without the other to whom to latch onto. He is obsessive, to the point where his daily routine revolves around that of another person whom he does not know. He is more than a voyeur, he is a stalker. I think interesting comparisons can be drawn here with Scottie in Vertigo. Only in Vertigo, there is no holding back whereas here Tomek recognises his "bad" instincts and attempts to prevent them. Although he only does this to a degree - he stops the things that make him feel bad about what he's doing, although I would speculate that he knows that even the less harmful acts he commits are also wrong but they are not specified as sinful, they are murkier territory where guilt can be more easily ignored. Perhaps, also, watching her having sex distances him further from her (always through opera glasses or a small telescope, no actual contact, no sound, no smell) and by choosing not to watch those moments he is ascribing himself control over "their relationship" which is otherwise removed from him by her sexual independence.
Which leaves me thinking that perhaps it is not so much lack of self-respect (for either of them) as it is loneliness...
I think the idea of loneliness that you have picked up on here runs through most of the chapters. It is one of the reasons that the location works so well (so far only used as a non-relevant background in chapter 5, from what I can make out, thou shall not kill). It is designed to be able to see into the lives of others, feel watched by an invisible force, and seperate the inhabitants from one another so their stories are distinct but connect almost indistinguishably to the life of the building community. In this episode, the distance between the two is played out wonderfully in the courtyard - a space of meeting and crossing of individual thresholds that previously contained the characters in their insular egocentric routines.
I have some problems with the ending. It can be read in several ways - I think yours is my preferred version for Tomek - but where does it leave Magda? I don't feel that there is as much resolution for her. I'd be intrigued to know how people saw this ending: a new start for them both together or independently? Is Tomek's hope there still, is Magda's cynicism? Or something else entirely? Also, I'm intrigued with our perspective as viewers - why are we allied with Tomek, the stalker, and not Magda who is actually the one breaking the commandment?
Edited by gigi, 08 February 2005 - 10:21 AM.
Posted 09 February 2005 - 01:25 PM
Posted 08 July 2005 - 02:08 AM
Can't really buy gigi's perspective on the woman's sexual behaviour. I don't think the film has the same North American evangelical Christian perspective that a lot of us would bring to this film, but neither do I think it celebrates her as a sexually liberated woman. There's something really lacking in her reductionist belief that there is no love, only sex: the moment when she expresses that is not only a fairly cynical expression, but dramatically plays as a moment when her words (and attitude) cause real harm, and are shown by their consequences (as well as by what has preceded them) to be inadequate, damaging, and wrong (both in the sense of being incorrect and in being morally suspect). She spends the rest of the film regretting not only those words but the heart and attitude out of which they issued, and confronted with the powerful (if naive, innocent/obsessive) adoration (infatuation / obsession / love / desire) the boy embodied, she seemed to feel real shame. Prior to the "seduction" of the boy, Magda would probably have said of herself more or less what gigi says of her, but I think the central event of the film absolutely calls that into question, not only for the viewer, but certainly for Magda herself.
Posted 08 July 2005 - 02:10 AM
And who was the guy in white with the suitcases? The Watcher? Or someone who shows up in other episodes? Or do we know?
Posted 15 May 2011 - 10:02 AM
- Also note that he asked her out for ice cream after rejecting her offers to kiss her or sleep with her. And yes, the guy dressed in white is "the Watcher" - and once you realize that, and you think back to his appearance in the last five episodes, I believe this is the very first time that he actually smiles. Yes, he smiles at Tomek.
A key moment that radically shifted my perception of the young man was when he invited Magda out for ice cream, and then we saw him careening around the grounds pulling the milk wagon - pure boyish exuberance. Suddenly his obsession looked a lot less twisted, a lot more child-like/pubescent. Radical shift of perception for me.
And who was the guy in white with the suitcases? The Watcher? Or someone who shows up in other episodes? Or do we know?
- So I've been wondering how Kieslowski was going to handle "thou shalt not commit adultery," partly because how he did may actually be determinative of whether I can recommend or persuade other friends to watch this. I have a number of Christian friends (& family too) that this is still probably too ... graphic for. However, the sexual theme of the story was handled with admirable restraint. Yes, we see Magda in her underwear and initiating sexual encounters. We also see Tomek responding to her seduction. But there was nothing pornographic about this episode (unlike HBO or Showtime which can both, even in pursuit of a good or even redemptive story, occasionally cross the line).
- This thread seems to discuss how Tomek's love changes Magda, but most seem to be highly critical of Tomek (and as to why he couldn't really be a Christ-figure). Tomek is not a Christ-figure, by the way. One of the main points of the story is that there is something wrong with him. He and Magda both are guilty of "adultery." But while she may be guilty of breaking the seventh commandment in Exodus 20:14, he is certainly guilty of breaking it according to Matthew 5:28. This is part of the genius of this episode, Kieslowski is showing us both the breaking the commandment by the act and the breaking of it in the heart. And yet, while what Tomek is doing was wrong, we seem to be seeing him after he's already changed. He "used to" but has now stopped watching her sexual activity and taking advantage of doing so to satisfy himself as a result. This is because he loves her. Even his actions as a "peeping Tom" are being sanctified/changed by his falling in love. When he starts to care about her as a person, he stops using her as an object for his own satisfaction. Thus, at the end, even though she has attacked the one thing that was actually changing him for the better, he cleans away the last part of what was still wrong - he is no longer even going to violate her privacy (he's not even delivering milk at her door anymore either). This doesn't mean that he no longer loves her.
- There is a sense in which breaking commandments in the Decalogue hurts the commandment breaker and deadens the soul. Out of the first 6 episodes, this one may address this more than the rest of them have so far. Perhaps it's because in this episode, we see two people who have purposefully stopped breaking the commandment - and the fact that doing so changes them as spiritual beings seems evident enough.