9 March 2016 | chaos-rampant
I've began to follow Kieslowski over the past days, hoping to finally encounter his color films which I've seen for years pop up among the brilliant works. I watched this as background glimpse into his formative period. Interestingly he does two things:
One is he presents a world that has come undone and carries the past. A woman, her husband has died as the film begins, life has broken down and she has to go out and face it. Everything that she encounters is an echo from the past. Two instances that involve photos exemplify it; nude photos of her that her husband had found but he's now gone before she had a chance to explain, the other shows an idyllic summer that he possibly spent with another woman (before they met?). But also an old friend who now vies for her, a night of prostituting herself because he reminds her of her husband, being hypnotized to forget him conjures his presence, and round it goes from bewilderment to epiphany.
The other thing they do here is look to frame a response to bewilderment felt by Poles who had just been through strikes and martial law. A man is awaiting trial, different narratives are offered up by lawyers. Should he be pragmatic or protest? It's one of the threads that were left undone at the time of the husband's death who was a lawyer on the case. His own advice, which I perceive to be Kieslowski's, is for everyone to remove the distortions that prevent them from seeing each other.
Viewers who are content to encounter a life of episodic confusion will be happy with what he does. I miss a more penetratingly visual way of threading these events and, already from my brief glimpses into Dekalog, I believe it's this ability to surround and submerge causality that he's going to cultivate, a way of dreaming in advance. Here, tellingly, we have the husband announcing his own death in the very first shot whereas it could have been threaded as discovery and glimpsed in a haze (he already tries this by the first episode of Dekalog).