The last of the Decalogue films - and perhaps the most innovative. If you've missed everything else, atone for it 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 7th day, a series of short films called Decalogue VIII-X 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-VIII: Zofia, professor of ethics at a university, is broadminded and dignified. Her research is well-known and she is respected by her students and colleagues. In her simple home, there is an empty room in which she arranges fresh flowers every day.
Zofia’s class on ethical dilemmas is joined by a new student, Elzbieta, whom Zofia has met in New York. During the discussions, Zofia says that the life of a child matters most whatever the circumstances, and Elzbieta tells a story.
During the days of German occupation of Poland, a Jewish orphan is looking for shelter. Her guardians take her to a Catholic couple who promise to help her get a baptism certificate, which is indispensable to save the child. At the last minute, the Catholic couple refuse to help. Zofia recognizes who Elzbieta is.
Decalogue-IX: Roman is insecure in his marriage because he is impotent. He cannot believe that his wife loves him. She reassures him that their marriage means much more to her than a physical relationship.
Roman still begins to spy on Hanka, and discovers that she is having an affair with a young man. When the lover gets too attached to her, she breaks off the relationship. Then she finds out Roman has been watching her.
The husband and wife reconcile, and agree that she should go away for some time. They also think about adopting a child. Hanka goes on a skiing holiday. One day, while Roman is watching children playing in the park, he sees the young man Hanka had broken up with, packing a pair of skis into his car. The man has found out her whereabouts from her office, but Roman believes it to be a planned assignation.
Decalogue-X: Artur is a pop singer. During a performance, he is interrupted by his elder brother Jerzy, who informs him that their father has died. For a long time they have not had contact with the eccentric old man, who collected stamps and lived in a flat filled with safety devices. After the funeral they think of selling the collection, each hoping to get a small sum.
They soon find that the collection is very valuable, so valuable that no one in Poland can afford to buy it.
They move back into the flat, making it better guarded than before. Soon they themselves become fascinated by the stamps. They find that the only way to buy the final stamp in a special series is to sell a kidney. Jerzy decides to do it, and the brothers buy their stamp. But when they return to the flat, the collection has been stolen, and each suspects the other, reporting his suspicions to the policeman investigating the theft.
Later, the brothers meet. Each, independently, had spent his last pennies to buy some cheap stamps at the post office. They look over them together.
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.