Daily Archives: March 22, 1996

Decalogue

By a cruel twist of fate, Krzysztof Kieslowski’s major work, made in 1988, is finally receiving its Chicago theatrical premiere only a few days after his death at the age of 54. Ten separate films, each running 50-odd minutes and set mainly around two facing high-rises in Warsaw, are built around a contemporary reflection on the Ten Commandments–specifically, an inquiry into what breaking each of them in today’s world might mean. Made as a miniseries for Polish TV before Kieslowski embarked on The Double Life of Veronique and the “Three Colors” trilogy, these concise dramas can be seen in any order or combination, and they don’t depend on one another, though if you see them in batches you’ll probably notice how major characters in one story turn up as extras in another. (Facets Multimedia is running two at a time, three or four times each, over the next two weeks, which offers many possible options.) One reason why Kieslowski remains such a controversial filmmaker is that he embodied in certain ways the intellectual European filmmaking tradition of the 60s while commenting directly on how we live today. The first film, illustrating “Thou shall have no other gods before thee,” is about trust in computers.… Read more »