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Decalogue, I to IV - A Polish Film

Decalogue, I to IV - A Polish Film is an event that took place on 17-Dec-2006 in Hyderabad.
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A series of 4 films, featuring greater conundrums than the Mahabharata, and the brilliance of Kieslowski. Did we mention the brilliance of Kieslowski?

The Hyderabad Film Club, in collaboration with the Embassy of The Republic Of Poland, New Delhi, & 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 5th day, a series of short films called Decalogue I-IV will be screened.

The Decalogue, a series of TV films, consists of 10 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-I: Krzysztof and his 11-year-old son Pawel have a comfortable and intimate family life even though the mother of the boy has gone abroad. They two use their computer at home for their work as well as to figure out whatever they are curious about. Pawel programmes it so that he can find out what his mother is doing, taking into account a 7-hour time difference.

One day an ink bottle on Krzysztof’s desk cracks and he is alarmed. Then he hears people shouting that the ice on the lake has broken, and runs out to find that Pawel has drowned.

Decalogue-II: A hospital ward head, an aged and lonely man, tells the story of his life to the charwoman in weekly episodes. One Dorota, who lives in the same tenement, comes to him to ask if her husband, who is seriously ill, is likely to live. The ward head refuses to say.

Dorota is pregnant with another man’s child. If her husband dies she can keep the baby, but if he lives, she will have to have an abortion. The ward head tells her that her husband will die, and so she need not have the abortion. After some time, Dorota’s husband visits the ward head and says he and his wife are expecting a baby.

Decalogue-III: On Christmas Eve, Janusz goes to church with his family, where he sees Ewa, with whom he had an affair years ago. He avoids speaking to her, but she turns up at his house later in the night, saying her husband has disappeared and she needs help finding him. Jensuz lies to his wife, saying that a woman has had her car stolen, and goes out with Ewa.

As they drive through the night to the hospitals, police stations and sobering-up stations, it becomes clear that the search is a pretext. Ewa’s husband had actually left her 3 years ago, but she wanted to spend one night with Janusz again. Janusz returns to his family.

Decalogue-IV: Anka’s father, Michal, is going away on business for some time. While he is away, she finds a letter written by her mother in an envelope that Michal has marked, "To be opened after my death”. Anka begins to forge another letter. When Michal returns, Anka quotes from the letter, “My dear little girl, I have an important thing to tell you. Michal is not your father..."

Michal leaves her in anger. Much later they meet and he asks her why she opened the letter. She says she did it because he wanted her to, and had started desiring him.

In the morning she wakes to find he is leaving. She runs after him and says, "I lied, I forged that letter." When she asks what was in the original letter, he says he does not know. They return to the flat and burn the mother’s letter.

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 the authorities. He started with feature films, his first production was Personnel in 1975, which brought 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 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 three 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 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.
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