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  • gga10 October 2000
    Written in little over a year and a half and done with a budget that any Hollywood production would consider ridiculous, Krysztof Kieslowski and Krysztof Piesiewicz created some of the most thought provoking and emotional films of all time with this miniseries. What was even more dramatic is that these pieces were unavailable on video for almost 15 years due to its distributor. Based on an original idea of Piesiewicz, Kieslowski's long time collaborator, the series was to be given to different directors each time. But Kieslowski fell in love with the project and ended up filming all of them. What makes these pieces unique is their rhythm, their unique images and their amazing scripts. Very little dialogue is used all along. Instead, Kieslowski gives you a full knowledge of his characters by little incidents in their lives, which end up having more resonance. Each one of the stories are linked by location, all occuring to different occupants of an apartment complex over the course of what's very likely one year. Each piece is an entity by itself and can be watched separately, although some of the characters do reappear in different episodes in bit parts. Most significant is that one who has been called "the angel", a mysterious figure whose gaze serves as a warning sign to the main characters. Since the films are loosely based on the ten commandments (and the different ways we break them every single day), the mood is one of anguish and solitude. And Warsaw and that inhumane apartment complex are a perfect setting for these desolate stories. Still, there's no need to be a Christian or even a religious person to enjoy these films. Most films deal with human issues and tough moral choices. Although the stories have received a subtitle to associate each of them with a commandment, these were not present in the original vision of the director and were added later by the Venice Film Festival's press office. Also, if you've seen two of the films in their longer versions: "A short film about Killing" and "A short film about Love", you should also watch them again here in their original versions, since they provide a small glimpse at the genius of Kieslowski who changes and adds small scenes that make the movies (specially "a short film about love") different experiences and almost vignettes of a people's lives.
  • 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.
  • I am among those very fortunate few in this world to have seen the 'dekalog' series in a theater.And i am proud of it.I knew precious little about Kieslowski until i saw this series which was shown during the 29th international film festival of India, held at Trivandrum. ever since i have respected,admired and loved this man for his skills. Anybody can learn a lot from the these 10 little gems. Even a lot many contemporary so called serious movie makers have lots to learn from this extremely intelligent filmmaker.

    Shot mostly in stark black and white, the camera seems to have a knack to bring out the faintest of internal turmoils each of the characters undergo. This man has proved how good an observer of life he is. His way of putting across ideas in a simple but intense manner will leave an everlasting impression in our minds.

    'A short film about killing' and 'A short film about love' may have found its way to the theaters and gained more attention. But i strongly feel that one has to see all the 10 episodes (in any order and do note that) which covers issues from adultery to incest to treachery and what not. Even more amazing is the fact that all the episodes seem to have been shot in the same locality, covering the occupants of a large residential complex.There are very few characters in each episode(which is about an hour each)and they ALL seem to leave an imprint in our minds. Krzysztof Piesiewicz,the screenplay writer for all the episodes has done a marvellous job.But i am sure i have lost the essence of some of the dialogues as i saw only the subtitled versions.

    There are no grandiose attempts while making these episodes-say through utilisation of huge sets or big stars or slick camera movements. It is kept down to earth,realistic and bereft of too many cinematic elements.The camera moves snail pace but something keeps you alert because you realise that the man behind it is making an attempt to speak not just though dialogues. I wish i got a chance to see more of his works and keep away from the commercial crap we are being forced to view everyday.

    I sincerely hope more of Kieslowski's offerings find its way to my country and more people from all over the world get a chance to see the works of this genius. This man is SIMPLY BEAUTIFUL !!!
  • Krzysztof Kieslowski's "The Decalogue" is one of the most powerful cinematic experiences you'll ever have, and probably the best ensemble cast I've ever seen (if you consider them a single film, like I do). I used to think Mike Nichols, Ingmar Bergman and Robert Altman were the supreme actor's directors, but I might consider Kieslowski (1941-1996) my #1 for this project alone. It helps that all the actors are unknown to most of us and not famous Hollywood stars, and that makes the experience even more real, but that wouldn't be much if they couldn't act. I had seen Kieslowski's "Three Colors" (which happens to be my all-time favourite trilogy), but I didn't think of him as a particular actor's director because Juliette Binoche or Julie Delpy don't necessarily need a great director to deliver a great performance (I'm not sure about Irène Jacob, though; I haven't seen "The Double Life of Veronique", in which she's supposed to be brilliant, and I do like her in "Red", but she never impressed me in any movie not directed by Kieslowski). Adrianna Bierdzynska (who looks like a cross between Jennifer Jason Leigh and Hilary Swank) and Olaf Lubaszenko, from segments 4 and 6, respectively, stand out; they're more Oscar-worthy than 90% of the nominees of the past decade; but every member of the cast did a terrific job. Stanley Kubrick described "The Decalogue" as the only masterpiece he could name in his lifetime - if that doesn't make you curious to watch this poignant, unique experience, then you're not a film lover. 10 out of 10 in my books.
  • If ever there was a good reason to start learning Polish, the Dekalog series is the definitive reason. The extent to which Kieslowski goes to show us what it is to be human, cannot be compared to the work of any film-maker. Yes, Ken Loach is the master of the social drama, and Lars Von Trier is without a doubt the best experimental melodramatist, but Kieslowski just manages to outclass them both in 10 powerful, striking and breath-taking stories losely based on the 10 Commandments. It's a must-see, don't take my word for it...go watch it !
  • `Dekalog' **** There are some `movies' that are hard to describe. `Dekalog' is one. It's not really a movie. It is a ten part made-for-TV mini series. Don't remember seeing `Dekalog' when it was first shown on TV? Neither do I. `Dekalog' was made for made for Polish TV in 1987 by Krzysztof Kieslowski (`Blue', `White', `Red' and `Double Life Veronique'). Each segment of `Dekalog' is about one hour and is thematically driven by one of the 10 Commandments. All the stories take place in the same high rise apartment in Warsaw. The characters in each of the stories don't necessarily overlap, yet we see some of the characters from one story walk through another. This lack of overlap is also true of the stories and the commandments. Even knowing which commandment was the basis for a story, I couldn't always see a direct correlation. It's as if Kieslowski and his co-writer Krzysztof Piesiewicz view the 10 Commandments as a ruler to measure one's actions, a curb to provide bounds for one's choices or maybe a mirror to reflect on one's life. This reflective view of the commandments comes through in each of the stories. In "I Am the Lord Our God" a young boy and his father rely on a computer to decide whether or not it's safe to go out on the ice. "Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery" is about a young boy who spies on and stalks the woman next door. Magda, his neighbor, is free and easy. And when she finds out about the young voyeur, she sets out prove there is no such things as love. Commandment by commandment Kieslowski provides us our own voyeuristic moment into the lives of the people in this one Warsaw apartment. This is truly a great movie. Buy a copy and watch the stories with another movie fan. Dekalog contains 10 stories that you'll want to talk about long after you've watched them.
  • fubared113 July 2000
    I would have hoped more people would have seen this superb collection of 10 short films, now that is available on video and DVD and has played on the Sundance channel. If you haven't, you are missing out on 10 superb masterpieces. Yes, they are slow-moving and some of them are very depressing, but what did you expect from this director, Adam Sandler? The acting, writing, direction, and music are all near perfection. 2 corrections to make from the earlier reviewer, these films are not in black and white, but in a very muted, monochromatic color. Also you should see them in sequence as 2 of the earlier episodes are referred to in the 8th and 10th episodes.
  • It's worth noting that about the same time this was airing on censored, Communist Poland TV, America was airing the "Heart to Heart reunion" and "V". Obviously, the Ten Commandments themes that it reportedly addressed in order are not actually in order, some of the shorts address two and even three commandments. No worries, though.

    This collection is a masterpiece. It's a major accomplishment with every film short being watchable, and some being unquestionable masterpieces. Kieszlowski is a master of presenting both sides of the argument; the pregnant, cheating wife and the cuckolded husband's doctor; the peeping Tom and the lonely woman; the atheist father and the religious sister.

    The final film centers on two brothers who inherit the stamp collection of their recently deceased father. They come to find that the collection is priceless and they scheme to sell it, mistrusting their father's former colleagues and ultimately one another. But despite their eventual downfall, the brothers find something of value from their folly. It's wonderfully affirming without being sentimental. That sentence probably describes most of these shorts.
  • kasac9 September 2005
    I first saw this amazing series at the San Francisco Film Festival, and so had the privilege of experiencing it on a large screen. The program was sold as a package deal, and in 1990, not much was known about the director and the work itself was completely unknown. From the first frame, those of us who took a chance knew we had really hit a winner early on. Every night, two episodes were screened. It proved to be a real binding experience. Each subsequent viewing provides fresh insight. Timeless, it continues to fascinate and illuminate. Each episode could possibly stand on its own, and the fact that it was a miniseries only enhances its power. On the basis of this experience, I chose to see Denmark's THE KINGDOM, PARTS I & II when the Film Festival ran them in the mid-90's.
  • The Decalogue is without doubt a monument of movie history. The ten films are apparently based on the ten commandments, but this relationship is tentative. Kieslowski himself commented that "the films should be influenced by the individual Commandments to the same degree that the Commandments influence our daily lives". The amazing thing about them is that they are much more than a series of abstract cinematic emblems. Assisted by superlative acting, they acquire each their own depth, their own real personalities and complex dilemmas. Kieslowski presents a cinematic view of morality that is about as sophisticated as it gets. A grand achievement of one of the great film-makers of the twentieth century.
  • Zoe-Trope22 October 2004
    Warning: Spoilers
    **Very Small Spoiler** I rented this on DVD recently (3 DVDs, 10 1-hour films) and was entranced. Very well done portrayals of people dealing with difficult situations. I noted that other comments indicate that each 1-hour film was later given a subtitle. The DVD I rented did not have this. The films were simply given numbers. It would be interesting to see how individual viewer interpretations compared to those subtitles. For example, the film about the peeping tom was apparently intended to be about adultery, whereas I interpreted it as relating to the commandment against coveting.

    A must-see for those who appreciate masterful film making.
  • Dekalog is a brilliant work by Krzysztof Kieslowski and i bet if there is any other movie/series more powerful. please don't read my review just go and watch it....you will enjoy it because you will experience feelings that you have never experienced before. It's just WONDERFUL by all means. Dekalog, based on the ten commandments in a very different way, offers ten short (each is slightly under an hour) scenarios, each scenario deals with one person in a critical situation which affects him/her and people around them. The acting is great, the story is masterfully written and directed. Dekalog 1 - "Thou shalt have no other gods before me" Between God and Computers. Dekalog 2 - "Thou shalt not take the Lord's name in vain" Death and delivery. Dekalog 3 - "Thou shalt remember the Sabbath and keep it holy" a family man who was forced to leave his wife and children on Christmas Eve and try to help his ex-girlfriend to find her missing husband. Dekalog 4 - "Honour thy Father and Mother" A complicated relationship between a girl and her father. Dekalog 5- "Thou shalt not kill" the most powerful segment. Dekalog 6 - "Thou shalt not commit adultery" a tale of a 19-year-old shy and quiet postal worker who peeps on (and later stalks) his beautiful, free-spirited neighbor. They meet later with tragic consequences. Fascinating and very clever.

    Dekalog 7 - "Thou shalt not steal" A family war. Dekalog 8 - "Thou shalt not bear false witness" An American woman returns to Poland to face a famed lecturer who during WWII refused to help her, a 6 year old girl at the time, to find a hiding place from the Nazis.

    Dekalog 9 - "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife" Infidelity and unfaithfulness. Dekalog 10 - "Though shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods" Greed and obsession.
  • Dekalog is a very difficult film. In fact, ten short films, about 50-60 minutes each. This is not yet a superficially complicated work where you have look for some hidden agenda or multi-layered symbols. No, all 10 series depict lives of simple people who all happen to dwell in Warsaw, around 1987, and who live within the same modern neighborhood. What is really striking is the sensation how similarly this place looks – very much like the dull, concrete blocks in my home-town in Russia or any large industrial city of the world. And what a constellation of stars! Almost all the best Polish actors are gathered here – Boguslaw Linda, Jerzy Stuhr, Zbigniew Zamachowski, Daniel Olbrychski, Janusz Gaios – among others. They look so young and so fresh in the film. But the way they act is simply second to none. What a thrilling, truthful performance! Each small nothing in their life breathes fully and vividly, thanks to their impeccable and outstanding play. So, why Dekalog is so difficult? Many reasons. First, it's the deliberate choice of colors. The series all made in almost no-color scheme, almost black and white. Then, very few dialogs. Sometimes, you have to watch closely and attentively for many long minutes, and yet in those mute scenes there is Life, true and naked. Each episode revolves around a certain God's Commandment, hence the name of the whole film. And each Commandment is explained so freshly and so unobtrusively wisely that there is no didactic tone or dull morals there. Common people live and die in common surroundings, and with their deeds they illustrate those rules from The Bible. What are my favorite episodes? Well, the 10th one, about two hapless brothers who try to make a fortune on their late Dad's priceless stamp collection, but then simply lose their money, a kidney and the whole collection. Or, the terribly cold and merciless series about a guy called Jacek Lazar, who killed a taxi driver and for that is hanged. The dearth penalty scene is so realistic that it will make you hate all the capital punishments for ages. Or, take the superb episode about a young man peeping at the beautiful woman nearby. He behaves like a dangerous maniac but turns up to be a weak one, ending up in a hospital. It's so much to describe there, but every short film, be it about a Dad who trusted his computer so much that it caused his son's tragic death; or the one about a Jewish lady who once was not saved by the Polish family – all of them are so touchingly deep, so exact, so surgically sophisticated that simply may be called masterworks. This is us there, this is our own life. If you feel shame, or fear, or sadness or pain – then Krzysztof Kislowski did his job well. He was and remains to be a master of realism, a carver of characters so deep and convincing that they may step out of the screen and right into our life. The serial demands all your time and attention, but if you have a chance – watch it carefully and think a bit about yourself, your life and your morality. If the film makes you think hard, then it has done its job. This is a labor of love, a grand achievement of Polish cinema and the essential choice for all the thinking people.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    What I'm hoping to do with a review of the Decalogue is to use this review as a review of the overall effect of the series, with a separate and more in-depth review for each episode.

    The series itself is one of those works that bleeds profundity and symbolism in everything it does. A bunch of short--yet highly well-rounded and fully developed--character dramas dealing with Universal themes of ethics, love, passion, and guilt, Kieslowski's Decalogue is a continuing but heavy portion of art and cinema and classical music, among other things.

    While not all of theme are technically interwoven with each other, they do share visual and thematic motifs with uses of color, recurrent props and sets, and a distinctive wide-angle lens close-up framing that helps the audience really look and regard every aspect of the character the film is following. This recurrent use of cinematography is held despite the actual production involving nine different cinematographers, which helps show the power of Kieslowski's personal vision and how he's able to bring it out on screen.

    It's definitely not something that can, nor should, be watched in one sitting, but it is continually enjoyable throughout each episode.

    --PolarisDiB
  • I plan to visit Warsaw soon --

    Does anyone know the location/address of the high-rise apartment building used as the fundamental setting for almost all the Dekalog? (Esp. the pond shown in Dekalog I) Other locations shown, such as the prison and cafe in Dekalog V?

    The cottage in Dekalog VII ("Thou Shalt not Steal." ? I think most of the these buildings must still be there, and still play an important role in our imaginative universe of these films. I think there are others who also would like to know.

    Thanks! John Spitzer
  • pink_floyd_fan8730 April 2006
    I have only seen a few of the episodes of this mini-series and I can already say that this is one of the most thought provoking film I have ever seen. It is definitely worth anyones time to watch some of these films. There is always a deeper meaning in each episode and each time you watch it you get more out of it. The films question many of life's practices. Why do we feel the need to seek revenge; in that case why do we kill a killer? Why do we seek refuge in a religion? When you watch this films you start wondering about human nature. You question all the things you normally wouldn't think twice about. This "mini-series" is excellent and I recommend everyone to give it a chance and watch it.
  • Kieslowski's astonishing ability, identified by Kubrick as "dramatizing ideas rather than just talking about them" is the core of all energy which flows through each sequence. Thanks to his rare ability, he transforms a religious canon into a cinematic myth which almost has become a Kieslowskian cult. However, although he creates a micro cosmos of human conditions in a mass apartment site, his opus reflects almost any political ideas which can be interpreted as the suppression of politics by any mystic movement. Regarding Kieslowski's religious choice and his free adaptation of the ten commandments, is it an over interpretation or exaggeration? Maybe.
  • Armand12 January 2008
    Ten stories. About few people and their life. Crossing destinies and silences, pains and an "deus otiosus". Descriptions of a Communism Poland. And eternal values, everyday problems, scenes of an ordinary existence in gray nuances. Nothing special; only a deep view.A collections of details. Small gestures, some looks, a flower, one boy and his dream, a father front of an icon, a old doctor and a sad wife, a husband in Christmas Eve, a killer and a taxi driver, a daughter and a strange letter, a young mother and a child, a witness of Shoah, two brothers, corpse of love and a postman, a man and his life and the shadow of fear to be victim of bad feelings. And God. As master, witness, possibility, chance, pretext. A masterpiece of a great director. About an ordinary world, ordinary ash of beauty, desire and hope. A film about us. About sense of life before the errors, about the faces of sin and mercy, about time and expectations.
  • There is so much to this set of films - so much wisdom of life and so much intrigue and so much revealing of the human condition! This deserves the descriptor Masterpiece through and through. The mystery and unpredictability of the stories makes writing a review without spoilers difficult. This is of the caliber of great literature that arises out of conditions of relative poverty and obscurity as Poland was under at this time, in the dying embers of the Cold War and Soviet dilapidation. Dark, but at the same time a testament to the sanctity of human life. It's not always easy to know which particular commandment is being alluded to, but that doesn't matter, they are just ten cracking stories of life and morality at the interface between the public and the personal.
  • I'd be lying if I said mounting the Dekalog was a breeze, it wasn't. But it was designed to be seen over a period of months, not days like I did, and I would probably dissuade you from watching it in a row. A significant obstacle for me lies with the format: ten different mini films that don't interconnect in meaningful ways, each one under an hour so it feels like a Sissyphian struggle of having to start again from the bottom just as you were getting to the top, and each time we go back down we start anew with a different set of characters and story.

    The upside of the TV format is that Kieslowski had the opportunity to work out different variations with a unifying form. The unifying idea across the 10 Dekalogs is potent; we leave with some insight on the destructiveness of what it means to inhabit a story when reality is more complex and elusive, as well as some measure of realization about this complexity of inter-dependent forces at work behind the stories. The form they developed was a narrative that is made concave and called into question. Time and again certainties of drama are blown away by revelations that demand a change in viewing.

    There are two tendencies at play in the work, one a filmmaker's, the other a writer's. Kieslowski's proclivity to visually recall edges, different ways of dreaming. The other tendency is that time and again this recollection is reduced to two characters forlornly baring themselves to each other in a room, explaining or avoiding to. Bergman. One releases emotional energy from characters into the air, the other drains it away in words and somnolent pauses. At times it feels like Kieslowski is just stylizing the morals of a script, but at other times it feels like he's writing his own paths with the camera.

    By itself it's no masterpiece in my estimation. Even with 10 hours to spare, it simply surrounds and repeats motifs. But if this is where Kieslowski apprenticed for the Three Colors by repetitively hitting the same limits and would be now ready to effect a real change in viewing in feature form, that would be time well spent. I came to this as preparation for those films myself, viewer apprenticeship you might say. I'll be going ahead there to find out.
  • Krzysztof Kieslowski was a Polish filmmaker from Warsaw (1941-1996) that brought great pride to a country that has had to overcome many hardships in order to survive. This is one of the reasons I love the Polish people. Another is that I grew up with them in my native Chicago, Illinois. They are a resilient, strong, and intelligent people. Above all, they are amongst the most caring and generous souls I have ever met. It is fitting then that they had a brilliant filmmaker who stayed in Poland through thick and thin to document their lives.

    I was thinking of how I might describe Krzysztof Kieslowski's 'The Decalogue'. My thoughts throughout kept coming back to the American series 'Twilight Zone'. We know it is a series of ten episodes. Each one is a loose study of one of the Ten Commandments. We are also aware that each episode has a character that resides in the same group of Warsaw apartment buildings. Yet, none are carried over into subsequent episodes. Finally, it is clear that the 'The Decalogue' was filmed in 1988. So let us go a bit deeper. It is something Kieslowski would insist upon based on his character studies.

    Krzysztof Kieslowski co-wrote each segment of 'The Decalogue'. His collaborator was Krzysztof Piesiewicz; a lawyer who Kieslowski felt added a different perspective to compliment his own style. Kieslowski directed every movie. I originally thought that he was consulted on every aspect of the filming, as like a Coppola might be. However, I found out that Kieslowski invited nine different Cinematographers to participate. He gave each one total freedom on their movie. He remarked in an interview that this brought freshness to each episode. He said that he was particularly concerned that the crew not be bored.

    The characters in the movies run the gamut from young to old, clever to naive, and intelligent to foolish. However, each has a common thread running through their lives. Each must make a decision that may change their lives. This is reflected in each of Zbigniew Preisner's dramatic and sensitive scores. The movies are intense and there is little in the way of action-based sequences. Some of the episodes may bring sadness, while others tend to make one reflect on the subject matter.

    I favored the first and last episodes. In particular, Decalogue X has a nice comedic touch throughout and it is a great way to end the series. Kieslowski certainly emphasizes that point with the last lines uttered in the Decalogue. It is his signature and a fond farewell to a wonderful project.
  • Strangely, quite a few top-class directors ended up making very few films in their lifetime. Ritwik Ghatak comes to mind immediately. After having watched the colour trilogy and, now, Decalogue, I would think Krzystof Kieslowski falls into that bracket. Having watched this at the Collective Chaos in Bangalore, India, I am left to wonder if productivity is inversely proportional to quality, even in films. Even if Decalogue has 10 parts to it based on the commandments, it is essentially one film. But a few episodes are better than the others. Like the 5th part, "Thou shalt not kill". Kieslowski takes a look at capital punishment in this brilliant part. People who have read Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment will immediately identify with this stunning tale of murder, repentance and justice. The 6th part too makes a big impact. A story of a young man's obsession for an older woman on whom he snoops on. Indian viewers would recognise more than a hint of Shashilal Nair's Ek Chotisi Love Story in this. Of course the latter pinched it. Anyway, Kieslowski's films are very approachable, yet intellectual. Decalogue confirms this belief. Buy it or rent it but do watch it.
  • With "The Decalogue" former documentary filmmaker Krzysztof Kieslowski and writer Krzysztof Piesiewicz tried their hands on an innovative TV concept for Polish television with the main focus on addressing moral issues the individual is facing. The result is a seminal series of ten small films where the protagonists are confronted with various dilemmas, forced to make decisions with ramifications on their own lives and the lives of others. Each of these films is a little gem in itself, and the entire lot put together provides even more weight. The episodes don't necessarily represent each of the ten Christian commandments as the title of the series might suggest, but rather it's a healthy mixture of them all, of universal value and accessible to everyone. Made in Poland in the eighties, before the time Kieslowski became known to a broader audience, the films' strong point is to show the lives of ordinary people living in the same block of buildings, doing their everyday business. Add in a dramatic ingredient dished out by fate or caused by human nature - death, illness, tragedy, hope, love to name examples - and a person's life takes another turn, gets unhinged or shifts focus. Paths formerly unexplored need to be considered and taken, often by the individual alone.

    One of the great things about these small films is that "The Decalogue" uses actors you'll probably never see anywhere else again (unless you explore Kieslowski's other works), a fact that makes all these stories look as if they are taken straight out of life, portrayed by and meant for actual living people. Also due to the more bleak East bloc environment where existence is at the forefront of people's concerns, the tales can actually focus on the people involved and their issues, they are down-to-earth, raw, gritty, sometimes quite simple, yet often deep and indefinitely thought-provoking. Thus "The Decalogue" contains everything that matters when it comes to moral decisions which Hollywood blockbusters with similar themes sorely lack.
  • I thought Dekalog was a very interesting approach on various individuals' different personal struggles that oftentimes are self- inflicted or inflicted upon them by a loved one. I can say Kieslowski successfully utilized the ten commandments' themes and applied them to a contemporary setting, while also mixing in his own themes that he finds ways to correspond with the respective commandment.

    In the case of this, I found each part less of an episode, and more of its own individual television movie, which combined form an even better film. The title is listed on IMDb as a TV mini-series, which I suppose is fair despite me seeing this listed among the best films ever for some reason. Anyways, here are my brief thoughts on each episode:

    Decalogue 1: I am The Lord Thy God

    This one is either the best or second best in this series of television films. It is beautifully filmed and very well written. Also this alone proves children can act under proper direction. Applying the idolization of science and indifference towards spirituality is an interesting way to start off. This one also may be the most religious to its core in what themes it presents and how it is executed. It's fantastic. 10

    Decalogue 2: Thou Shalt Not Take The Lord's Name in Vain

    This one is really good, albeit slow. I wasn't as drawn to this one as some people were, especially in comparison to some of the other episodes, but it's still really great. I think acting is one of the least interesting aspects of filmmaking, but in the case for this chapter, its just too well done not to comment on it. This one also features some very nice and memorable motifs and imagery. Maybe drags on a little to hold everyone's interest, but it does help set the mood. Great writing for some great characters. 8.5

    Decalogue 3: Thou Shalt Keepeth the Sabbath Holy

    While still under competent writing, editing, and performances, this chapter wasn't as interesting to me as the previous two but still a memorable watch for positive reasons. It is also maybe my favorite Christmas movie after Brazil, interestingly. I think it plays well with theme of the respective commandment and showcases some negative effects the holiday season can have one those who are lonely. Pretty good. 8.0

    Decalogue 4: Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother

    This is a fantastic film with fantastic character interactions and dialogue. It pushes boundaries by exploring taboos within families. The film covers respect in a father and daughter relationship as well as near incest and the role that family ties and obligations override feelings and desires. 9.0

    Decalogue 5: Thou Shalt Not Kill

    Even though I am strongly against capital punishment, I interestingly found this film's argument against it to be the least interesting aspect of the film. This is such an amazing film with some shocking scenes and peak of emotions. I am looking forward to see A Short Film About Love as its allegedly more intense. 9.5

    Decalogue 6: Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery

    This chapter is a masterpiece in every technical way, I can't imagine A Short Film About Love topping this as it might be perfect how it is. This part definitely has the most interesting characters (though Decalogue 5's criminal character is also great) and expertly explores themes of obsession, stalking, lust, and heartache. This one is so beautiful. 10

    Decalogue 7: Thou Shalt Not Steal

    Unfortunately, Dekalog drops in quality ever so slightly here on out. But its hard to surpass its expertise in the first six episodes. Chapter 7 is pretty good even though my initial thought suggested otherwise. The film may be somewhat more slow and less eventful, but it makes up for it in character interactions and dialogue as well as its cinematography. I like it. 8.0

    Decalogue 8: Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness

    This one was just frustrating, it wasn't really bad in any technical way; this chapter is just not as strong. It could be more me watching it at the wrong time, but this film frustrated me. As gorgeous as the cinematography and overall form was, I just was not drawn to the story. I don't find anything particularly wrong with its screenplay other than just not allowing many interesting event to occur. I think at least that's my opinion, I had troubles following this chapter for whatever reason and that bothers me. This thought isn't very developed, but I also might think that this chapter's use of the commandment is somewhat contrived. I don't know for sure. I have mixed thoughts on it. I would be lying if I said I didn't enjoy watching it, it was more so its legacy on me. 6.5

    Decalogue 9: Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor's Wife

    This is a good movie with some interesting themes regarding relationships and the important role that sex plays within them. The characters are complicated and the first and third act are quite strong, I just wasn't particularly invested in the second act. Overall, it's good. Watch it. 7.5

    Decalogue 10: Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor's Goods

    As great as this chapter is, I still wish Dekalog ended on a somewhat more stronger note in terms of intellectual stimulation. However, it's no doubt that this chapter is a blast to watch. It is the most light- hearted and humorous. The emotional connection to the characters allows the audience to more laugh at the character's misfortunes and antics than feel moved, saddened, or disturbed as previous chapters did. It's wonderful. 8.5
  • I watched the first episode and couldn't believe my eyes. How could anybody, Catholic or atheist take this story seriously? I was watching it and praying: Please, Kieslowski, don't trivialize the matter!

    Here's the plot: A nice intelligent guy raises a gifted and sensitive son alone. They relationship if filled with love. But the hero has one flaw, he's an agnostic, even though he was brought up in a Catholic family. What's worse, instead of trusting God, he happens to trust science--in particular his computer. God has no choice but to teach him a lesson. And what could best drive God's point if not killing the person the hero loves most--his son?

    Having grown up in Catholic Poland, I can attest that this is how most people there understand religion. The loving God, who--like a Mafia boss--kisses you before stabbing your heart. This is the kind of God who doesn't stay Abraham's hand.

    There is no subtlety in Kieslowski's story. No questioning of faith. The commandments are rigid rules--you break them, you pay. And the competing god--the technology--is viewed in a superstitious, parochial, way.

    I'm glad Kieslowski didn't present his views on the intelligent design vs. Darwinism.
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