Ten television drama films, each one based on one of the Ten Commandments.
This is a series of ten shorts created for Polish Television, with plots loosely based upon the Ten Commandments, directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski. Two of these, Dekalog 5 and 6, are shorter cuts from the feature-length films–Krotki film o zabijaniu (A Short Film About Killing) and Krotki film o milosci (A Short Film About Love), respectively. They deal with the emotional turmoil suffered by humanity, when instinctual acts and societal morality conflict.
If you love beautiful, heartbreaking, thoughtful movies, you’ll thank me for this advice.
Kieslowski left us way too soon. But he did leave behind a handful of achievements that place him at the forefront of filmmakers of the last quarter of the 20th century. The Three Colors movies and The Double Life of Veronique – the movies for which he is probably best known – would be enough to ensure his reputation, but is this film – or ten films, if you wish – that elevate him.
While the movies are based upon the Ten Commandments, they are not simple morality tales and illustrations. Kieslowski and his co-writer, Krzysztof Piesiewicz, create meditations that connect both intellectually and emotionally with the commandments instead. They explore the commandments’ themes with the head and the heart. One great example is the first movie, in which a parent and his child use a computer to predict the freezing rate of a pond. Casting the computer and human knowledge as false Gods is not a new or unique idea, but in Kieslowski’s hands, the idea expands and fills not only the mind but the heart. Man, I wish I had the vocabulary to express what moves in me every time I watch any one of these films.
Everything about this film, from the cast – always nice to see the ubiquitous Daniel Olbrychski (ubiquitous for Polish films; I always wondered if Poles ever play six degrees of Daniel Olbrychski) – on. The cinematography for each episode is ideal; the look and feel of these movies, shot with the same director but different cinematographers, are all perfect.
And who is that watchful, mute man who appears in the background of all or most of these films?
Look, just see this. Find it, rent it. If you love beautiful, heartbreaking, thoughtful movies, you’ll thank me for this advice.