A teenager in love with a 30-year-old woman, a girl who thinks her mother is her sister, and more mutant tales. It's more of Kieslowski's legendary Decalogue today.
The Hyderabad Film Club, in collaboration with the Embassy of The Republic Of Poland, New Delhi, and the Federation Of Film Societies Of India, is screening a series of short films and feature films of Polish director Krzystof Kieslowski, as a tribute to the legend, from 13th to 20th December, at Sarathi Studios, Ameerpet.
16 short films and 5 feature films will be screened during these days. Today, the 6th day, a series of short films called Decalogue V-VII will be screened.
The Decalogue, a series of TV films, consists of ten modern parables about how the Ten Commandments function in today’s world. Each film is a self-contained feature. It does not simply illustrate the commandment, but addresses the question, are the commandments sufficient for today’s purposes and the trials of modern civilization?
The successive protagonists face situations that could be interpreted and tackled in various ways. There are no easy solutions. In each film, the same character appears.
Decalogue-V: An adolescent, Jacek, wanders around town. A middle-aged cab driver washes his car thoroughly. Piotr passes his barrister’s examination. These three characters cross each other’s paths during the film, and meet again at the end.
Jacek has a photo enlarged. It shows a girl at her first Communion. The taxi driver looks for a passenger and refuses to take drinks. Piotr and his girlfriend go to a bar where Jacek is drinking coffee. Jacek leaves and takes a cab to the suburbs. In an isolated spot, he murders the driver.
During his trial, Piotr defends him, but Jacek is sentenced to death. Before the hanging, he speaks to Piotr and tells him that his sister had been run over by a tractor some years ago. The driver had been drunk, and had been drinking in Jacek’s company. "If it hadn’t been for that, perhaps nothing would have happened," he says. "I wouldn’t be here now."
Decalogue-VI: Tomek is a 19-year-old in love with Magda, who is 30. She doesn’t know he exists, but every evening he watches her window through a field glass. He works as a milkman in order to get closer to her. At the post office where he works, he forges notification so that she will have to come to his counter. He steals her letters.
At last they meet and Tomek confesses his love. She tells him there is no such thing as love. She would prefer a physical relationship. His failure drives him to slit his wrists. Now Magda searches for him when the milk is delivered and at the post office. But when she finds him, his wrists bandaged, he says, "I’m not watching you anymore, Madam."
Decalogue-VII: Ania, 5 years old, has been raised as Ewa’s younger daughter. She is actually the daughter of Majka, who she thinks is her sister. When Majka was a young student, she had the child by Wojtek, a teacher in her school. As the story opens Majka is making plans to go to Canada. She runs away with Ania to Wojtek, who now makes toys for a living.
Wojtek, who has been living a static life, now becomes involved with Majka’s passionate feelings for her child. But soon she runs away again with Ania.
Now there are two people searching for them, Ewa and Wojtek. Ewa finds Majka and Ania fast asleep in a small railway station. Majka wakes and jumps on to a departing train. Ania runs after her while Ewa calls, "Come back, my daughter." Neither Majka nor Ania, who is standing on the end of the platform, can hear her.
Krzysztof Kieslowski was born in 1941 in Warsaw, Poland. At a young age he decided to become a theatre director, but during those days there was no specific training program for directors. So he chose to study film as an intermediate step. After that he continued his education in the famed Polish film school in Lodz that also produced Roman Polanski and Andrzej Wajda.
Kieslowski started his career with documentaries, focusing on the everyday lives of city dwellers, workers and soldiers. Though he was not an overtly political filmmaker, his productions were controversial, causing many discussions among the public as well as among the authorities.
His first feature film was Personnel in 1975, which won him the first prize at the Mannheim Film Festival. His other movies also received wide acclaim and honors. In the '80s, he started his ambitious project, The Decalogue, a series of ten short films set in a Warsaw tower block, each nominally based on one of the Ten Commandments. It is now one of the most critically acclaimed film cycles of all time.
His films garnered a host of prestigious international awards, including the Golden Lion for Best Film and the Silver Lion (Three Colours) for Best Director at the Venice Film Festival, and the Silver Bear for Best Director at the Berlin Film Festival, in addition to 3 Academy Award nominations. Krzysztof Kieslowski died aged 54 on March 13, 1996, during an open-heart surgery following a heart attack.
The screenings are open only for invitees and members of the Hyderabad Film Club. For details regarding membership and screenings, please contact Bh S S Prakash Reddy of the Hyderabad Film Club at 2373-0841/93910-20243.