Kieslowski: Kino Collection

Born on June 27, 1941, in Warsaw, Krzysztof Kieslwoski was a leading figure in East European cinema of the 1970s and 1980s. A graduate of the Lodz film school, he turned out his first film in 1969 and first captured international attention with “Camera Buff” (1979), a satirical critique of political movie censorship in his native land.

Several of his earlier and subsequent films were banned or shelved for long periods. Some won awards at international film festivals, including “A Short Film About Killing” and “A Short Film About Love,” both feature versions of segments from his mammoth “Decalogue: The Ten Commandments” (1988), a series of 10 TV films, each representing a biblical commandment through a modern story reflecting the drab reality of Poland today; the series is set in a Warsaw housing complex. The screening of the entire cycle was the central event of the 1989 Venice Festival.

In Kino’s great Kieslowski Collection, you’ll find a DVD box with six films, all written an directed by the Polish maestro: “The Scar” (1976), “Camera Buff” (1979), “No End” (1985), “Blind Chance” (1987), “A Short Film About Killing” (1988), and “A Short Film About Love” (1988).

These films detail the important steps of Kieslowski’s early film career, mapping a shift from documentary to fiction film. With the completion of “The Scar,” Kieslowski left behind a decade of cinema-of-consciousness and ventured into feature-length fiction, an effort that culminated with the international celebration of “A Short Film About Killing” in 1988. “I’m frightened of real tears, the director once said, “In fact, I don’t even know if I have the right to photograph them.”

“Blind Chance,” “No End,” “The Scar” and “Camera Buff” are four of the five features Kieslowski directed before dedicating two years of his life to the acclaimed “Decalogue, a ten-part TV series about the Ten Commandments. He later expanded two of the segments into feature length movies: “A Short Film About Killing” (1988) and “A Short Film About Love” (1988). Unfortunately, due to his untimely death of cancer, in 1996, Kiewslowski directed only four other features, all in exile: “The Double Life of Veronique” and the “Three Color Trilogy: Blue, White, and Red.”

The Scar

“The Scar” depicts an earnest Party member thrown into the middle of a complicated political battle, when he takes charge of re-opening a forlorn chemical factory.

Camera Buff

In “Camera Buff,” a tragicomedy about a man’s fascination with the cinematic medium and an 8mm movie camera, Filip Mosz (played by Jerzy Stuhr, who would co-star with Julie Delpie in “Three Colors: White”) becomes the official photographer for the local Party and eventually reaches an irreconcilable deadlock with his wife and friends, choosing a moving camera over them.

No End

Like “Three Colors: Blue,” “No End” tells the story of a woman who abruptly loses her husband and fails to detach from her memories and subsequent suffering. An exemplary display of Kieslowski’s ability to combine political referencesthe banning of Solidarity and the installment of martial lawwith personal and spiritual elements. “No End” is a story of social chaos in circular feedback with emotional pain.

Blind Chance

Kieslowski’s last feature before the “Decalogue,” “Blind Chance” is a narrative essay on chance and destiny. As the film’s hero races down a train platform, the film blossoms into three successful scenarios in which, depending on Witek’s catching or missing his train, spawning three completely different futures.

A Short Film About Killing and About Love

“A Short Film About Killing” and “A Short Film About Love” were based on the short films directed as “Decalogue V” and “Decalogue VI,” two of the ten episodes if Kieslowski’s acclaimed TV series. Each based on one of the Ten Commandments of the Old Testament, these ten short films were specifically made for broadcasting on Polish TV.

“A Short Film About Killing” and “A Short Film About Love” were the only two films from the Decalogue series to be written, shot, and edited as separate feature length pictures. These versions are significantly different from their short film counterparts, and both films received worldwide, critical acclaimed, theatrical releases.