Dekalog 1 & 2
This masterwork by Krzysztof Kieslowski is one of the twentieth century’s greatest achievements in visual storytelling. Originally made for Polish television, The Dekalog focuses on the residents of a housing complex in late-Communist Poland, whose lives become subtly intertwined as they face emotional dilemmas that are at once deeply personal and universally human. Its ten hour-long films, drawing from the Ten Commandments for thematic inspiration and an overarching structure, grapple deftly with complex moral and existential questions concerning life, death, love, hate, truth, and the passage of time. Shot by nine different cinematographers, with stirring music by Zbigniew Preisner, The Dekalog explores the unknowable forces that shape our lives.
I Am The Lord Thy God (Dekalog 1)
Dir. Krzysztof Kieslowski. 1988, 53 mins. Restored DCP. With Henryk Baranowski, Wojciech Klata, Maja Komorowska, Artur Barcis. In taking the First Commandment as their starting point, Kieslowski and Piesiewicz address the question of God’s existence and man’s creation of false idols. Krzysztof, a scientist, introduces his beloved little son, Pawel, to the mysteries of the personal computer, a machine which he believes to be infallible. It is winter, and Pawel, anxious to try out a new pair of skates, asks his father if he can go out to the local pond which has just frozen over. They consult the computer and determine with great precision that the ice will hold the boy’s weight. But an unpredictable convergence of meteorological factors is about to threaten the scientist’s faith.
Thou Shalt Not Take the Name of Thy Lord God in Vain (Dekalog 2)
Dir. Krzysztof Kieslowski. 1988. 57 mins. Restored DCP. With Krystyna Janda, Aleksander Bardini, Olgierd Lukaszewicz, Artur Barcis. The head of an intensive care unit is a lonely, older man who enjoys a stable life and the faded memories of his youth. His tranquility is abruptly shaken when the fate of an unborn child is unexpectedly placed in his hands. The expectant mother (Krystyna Janda) is a young violinist whose husband is in critical condition in that very ward. But the child was fathered by another. She has decided that if her husband lives, she will have an abortion, and if he dies, she will have the baby. Thus it is the doctor’s prognosis that will decide.
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