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[Decalogue] Episode VIII

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#1 (unregistered)

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Posted 04 February 2004 - 10:56 AM

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#2 Russell Lucas (unregistered)

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Posted 11 February 2004 - 09:42 AM

Is VIII the episode with the surgeon with, uh ED (as we now call it so casually and, boy, isn't it great that Kieslowski made this before the era in which such problems could be fixed by pills pushed by football coaches), whose wife strays? Great episode. More of the watcher/observer/judge and the action/inaction dichotomy.

#3 Russell Lucas (unregistered)

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Posted 13 February 2004 - 02:53 PM

Is VIII the episode with the surgeon with, uh ED (as we now call it so casually and, boy, isn't it great that Kieslowski made this before the era in which such problems could be fixed by pills pushed by football coaches), whose wife strays?  Great episode.  More of the watcher/observer/judge and the action/inaction dichotomy.

Wrong again, bucco. This is the one that ties into the earlier episode with the visiting scholar and the possible sin of omission involving the aging professor who lived through the purge of the Jews.

#4 SoNowThen



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Posted 31 March 2004 - 10:41 AM

I think this one's actually "Thou Shall Not Bear False Witness"... but I'm not 100% sure.

Anyway, my 2nd least favorite, next to Episode 3. The WWII aspect was almost interesting, and the reference to Episode 2 was cute. But for the most part, blahtastic.

Dunno if the 4-7 run can be beat. Those were the best by far. Hopefully the last two will finish strong.

#5 Tim Willson

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Posted 31 March 2004 - 11:23 AM

Yes, Facets.org includes:
Decalogue 8: "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor." A woman from New York confronts an ethics professor in Warsaw with the fact that, as a child, she was refused shelter by the teacher during the Nazi occupation.

I didn't get all the way through this the other day, but I liked what I saw. The opening sequence (holding hands in the street) was the most artsy sequence of the series, a different style than much of the rest of the series.

I appreciated the reference to Decalogue II. We learned some new things about those characters, such as the fact that Andrzej had cancer and the fact that their situation has become public knowledge. But who was the student who mentioned Dorota's indiscretion in class? I thought I recognized her, but wasn't sure if in fact she's from another episode.


#6 Tim Willson

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Posted 21 April 2004 - 01:15 PM

One more question -- Elzbieta appears to be wearing a cross during several scenes. In one scene, there appears to be a second item on her necklace -- perhaps a charm, or maybe a Hebrew letter?

I zoomed in on it in a couple of places, and the picture is quite fuzzy at that point; nonetheless, it certainly looks like a cross, and it strikes me as very odd, perhaps even a mistake on Kieslowski's part.


#7 Russell Lucas (unregistered)

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Posted 22 April 2004 - 03:18 PM

Tim, I'll watch the film again and look for that.

#8 The Invisible Man

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Posted 17 December 2005 - 09:47 AM

All of the other films in the cycle are chock-full of interesting ideas and seem to carry considerable weight, but I find this one to be rather flimsy and obvious. The acting is terrific, of course, and the story is reasonably involving, but after every viewing I am left scratching my head and thinking "is that all there is?". Is my reaction common?

#9 The Student

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Posted 22 April 2006 - 03:55 PM

I'm new to not only this discussion but all of the discussions about Kieslowski and his works. I would like to make a suggestion that helped a lot in the film course on Kieslowski that I just finished. Read Martin Buber's I and Thou. Then read Fear and Trembling by Kieregaard. Especially in Decalogue VIII, these two philosophers give a wonderful bit of insight into the characters of the Decalogue. Buber's notion that God is found in the embrace and in the air people breathe is highlighted in the final embrace between the two women as the tailor looks on through the glass (implying that he will never be able to share that feeling).

As far as the necklace goes, it was the class consensus that the other charm was a hebrew letter, giving some kind of duality for her heritage and the way that she was saved from the holocaust.

Kieslowski seems to do everything intentionally, and I believe that there is nothing flimsy if you can get beyond the initial view of the film, and look at the deeper implications, like the tailor who has been estranged from his friends, or the ability of the teacher to attempt at recompense for previous actions.

I also have a question regarding all of the decalogue, forgive me if there is a better place to post this and please direct me there.

Does anyone see any deeper implications than societal influence on the presence of smoking throughout the series?

I believe that there are some deeper philosophical implications on the timing and placing of smoking, does anyone else think the same thing?

#10 Tim Willson

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Posted 24 April 2006 - 01:23 PM

Thanks for the comments, Student.

Hadn't thought about the smoking issue, but I'll look for that -- I'm overdue to revisit this series soon, and still have not watched D10.

#11 edavid



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Posted 04 June 2006 - 03:17 PM

re: smoking

If you watch Howard Hawks' His Girl Friday with the commentary on, there's a good example of using cigarettes to indicate relationships among the characters: who lights whose cigarette, do they offer or have to be asked, does the action indicate a decisive moment in the film, etc. KK

We're screening the Decalogue here in Los Angeles and I stumbled upon this thread. More info:

#12 J.A.A. Purves

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Posted 03 June 2011 - 08:31 PM

It starts slow, but this is a very strong episode. Ironically, it's also probably the episode with the weakest A&F discussion thread.

- While some seem to be saying the story is too simple or obvious, it's not. Lying to save someone else's life from evil men (see what Corrie Ten Boom has to say about that sort of thing) does not equal bearing false witness against thy neighbor. Many Christians have a very simplistic view of lying. I always catch myself with it, but it's not so simple. And the beauty of this episode is that the example of lying here is not what you first think it is.

- Ironic, that the episode on lying turns our ideas upside down by making us consider the sin as being the refusal to “bear false witness.”

- Great references to the rest of the series in this episode. But the references do more than just remind you of what's already happened (the retelling of the story of the doctor's lie from episode II is a foreshadowing, remember, he told a lie to save a life), they point you back to the almost sacred view Kieslowski seems to have of this apartment complex, and the potential in every human being in it. When Elzbieta tells Zofia that she lives in a very interesting building, Zofia's response is putting a voice to one the main points Kieslowski has been getting across this whole series. Every person is lovable, sympathetic, and prone with abilities for both heroism or wickedness, either self-sacrifice or evil. The story of the choice the doctor made, has, in the eyes of the students in the classroom, taken on somewhat epic proportions.

- But that's to say nothing of Zofia's own story. I can't help but be impressed how Kieslowski kept changing my point of view of Zofia. First, she's a nice, vulnerable, interesting old lady. Then suddenly, she's a sinner who's hiding a dirty secret. And then, again suddenly, she’s a heroine who has been living with some terrible choices she made, but you understand why she made them.

- So correct me if I'm wrong, but let me get this straight. First impression of the audience (and of Elzbieta) is that Zofia refused to take the little Jewish girl in to protect her from the Nazis because her Catholicism would not allow her to lie in order to protect the little girl. Then it turns out that her "convictions" about not being able to lie were themselves the lie, because she was mislead to believe that the men trying to give her Elzbieta were trying to use doing so as a way to take out her husband's role in the resistance. So she lied that she had Catholic convictions against lying in order to protect the Resistance movement, which, in the grand scheme of things, would mean saving more lives than just Elzbieta's. Does that sound about right?

- Also interesting, but apparently Elzbieta is a Catholic? She's been wondering about Zofia all these years, and has been hurt by Zofia's refusal to save her life. And yet, she didn't end up in Judaism, but is actually Christian. At least that's the impression I get, what with Zofia seeing her pray and her wearing a cross and all.

- Gotta love how Kieslowski keeps turning your first impressions of his characters on their heads. Talk about learning not to judge a book by it's cover.