Krzysztof Kieslowski Criticism - Essay

Krzysztof Kieslowski with Gustaw Moszcz (interview date Spring 1981)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Frozen Assets: Interviews on Polish Cinema," in Sight and Sound, Vol. 50, No. 2, Spring, 1981, pp. 86-91.

[In the following excerpt, Kieslowski discusses the impact of political changes on the film industry in Poland and how politics have affected his own work.]

Living in Poland now is to participate in momentous events which are, at the time of writing (January 1981), still in turmoil, although not quite the chaotic mess that the Soviet bloc media would have the West believe. The independent trade organisation (union is not an adequate term to describe a network of combined worker and intellectual groups which now conservatively account for ten million...

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Paul Coates (essay date 1990)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Exile and Identity: Kieslowski and His Contemporaries," in Before the Wall Came Down: Soviet and East European Filmmakers Working in the West, edited by Graham Petrie and Ruth Dwyer, University Press of America, 1990, pp. 103-14.

[In the following essay, Coates discusses the cohesiveness of Kieslowski's work and the fusion of Eastern and Western influences in his films.]

How the West was Won is the title of the East European producer's unrealized dream film: a horn of plenty discharging hard currency into the coffers of its debt-ridden country of origin. At a time when hopeful speculation is resurrecting the specter of Central Europe, however, it may be...

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Krzysztof Kieslowski with Phil Cavendish (interview date Summer 1990)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE; "Kieslowski's Decalogue," in Sight and Sound, Vol. 59, No. 3, Summer, 1990, pp. 162-65.

[In the following interview, Kieslowski discusses the development and filming of his series of films, Decalogue.]

With his latest films based on the Decalogue, the Polish director Krzysztof Kieslowski seems to have pulled off two difficult feats in one stroke. Not only has the ten-part series established him as a world-class talent, but it has also aroused a new interest in the Ten Commandments.

Certainly, the critics who first saw the cycle at the Venice festival last year were as eager to praise as they were frantic to discover the relevant...

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Michael Tarantino (review date December 1990)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "The Cave," in Art Forum, Vol. XXIV, No. 4, December, 1990, pp. 22-3.

[In the following review, Tarantino discusses Kieslowski's use of character, setting, and plot in Decalogue.]

Krzysztof Kieslowski's The Decalogue, 1988, is a series of investigations into the question of choice, both esthetic and moral. The director and his scriptwriter, Krzysztof Piesiewicz, based this series often one-hour television dramas on the Ten Commandments. (Two of the films, A Short Film about Killing and A Short Film about Love, have been expanded to feature length for cinema release.) The works have a number of constants: each is based on one of the...

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Dan Millar (essay date January 1993)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "A Great Polish Film-Maker: Krzysztof Kieslowski," in The Durham University Journal, Vol. LXXXV, No. 1, January, 1993, pp. 131-35.

[In the following essay, Millar praises Kieslowski's Dekalog and La Double Vie de Véronique as examples of Kieslowski's greatness as a filmmaker.]

Krzysztof Kieslowski is not interested in Sin. In fact, he is not a 'theological' director at all, even though he is best known for his TV series Dekalog (The Ten Commandments) and its spin-off cinema films, A Short Film about Killing (i.e. the fifth commandment, Catholic numbering) and A Short Film about Love (sixth commandment), both 1988. But then...

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Geoffrey Macnab (review date November 1993)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: A review of Trois Couleurs: Bleu (Three Colors: Blue), in Sight and Sound, Vol. 3, No. 11, November, 1993, pp. 54-5.

[In the following review, Macnab asserts, "Perhaps Kieslowski is, as his supporters so ardently proclaim, the most important film-maker in Europe; but his blithe abandonment of social issues and retreat into a remote, mystical realm where personal experience is all that matters [in his Trois Couleurs: Bleu], do not augur well for the future."]

[In Kieslowski's Trois Couleurs: Bleu,] Julie, a young French woman, loses her husband and child when the family car careens out of control on a remote country lane and crashes into a...

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Marilynne S. Mason (review date 25 March 1994)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Through the Lense of a Polish Filmmaker," in The Christian Science Monitor, March 25, 1994, p. 15.

[In the following review, Mason recommends Kieslowski on Kieslowski "for film buffs, students, or anyone interested in the cultural history of Eastern Europe."]

Starting out as an innovative, intellectual documentary filmmaker, Polish director Krzysztof Kieslowski evolved into one of the great artists of the contemporary European cinema.

Kieslowski gained international prominence with his Decalogue, a series of 10 films based on the Ten Commandments made for Polish television. His The Double Life of Véronique made in France...

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Philip Kemp (review date May 1994)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Slightly Excited," in Sight and Sound, Vol. 4, No. 5, May, 1994, p. 35.

[In the following review, Kemp asserts that more can be learned of Kieslowski from watching his films than from the book Kieslowski on Kieslowski.]

Faber's 'Directors on Themselves' series, of which some half-dozen volumes have so far appeared, suffers from two inbuilt drawbacks. The obvious one is that some directors don't have anything interesting to say about their own films, in which case—as with David Thompson's valiant editing job on Barry Levinson—the sound of some fairly desperate barrel-scraping can be heard. The other is that, even given an articulate and perceptive subject,...

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Krzysztof Kieslowski with Tony Rayns (interview date June 1994)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Glowing in the Dark," in Sight and Sound, Vol. 4, No. 6, June, 1994, pp. 8-10.

[In the following interview, Kieslowski discusses influences on his filmmaking, including themes, financing, and the political situation in Poland.]

Hong Kong: 25 March—Dinner at the Pacific Club with Krzysztof Kieslowski, hosted by Golden Harvest, the local distributor of the Three Colours trilogy. Kieslowski is in town for the Hong Kong Film Festival (which opens with Blue and closes with White) and has spent the day giving interviews to promote the upcoming releases of the films. His producer Marin Karmitz, the ex-radical who runs the Paris...

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Dave Kehr (essay date November-December 1994)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "To Save the World: Kieslowski's Three Colors Trilogy," in Film Comment, Vol. 30, No. 6, November-December, 1994, pp. 10, 12-13, 15-18, 20.

[In the following essay, Kehr traces the movement from isolation and solitude to acceptance of community and interdependence in Kieslowski's Three Colors.]

When Red, the concluding episode in Krzysztof Kieslowski's Three Colors trilogy, was screened at this May's Cannes Film Festival, the 53-year-old Polish filmmaker took the opportunity to announce his retirement. He now had enough money to keep himself in cigarettes, he told a group of American journalists through an interpreter, and rather than...

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Jonathan Rosenbaum (essay date 16 December 1994)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Seen and Unseen Encounters: Kieslowski's Red," in Chicago Reader, December 16, 1994, pp. 47-53.

[In the following essay, Rosenbaum discusses the possibility of resurrection in Kieslowski's Three Colors trilogy, especially Red.]

A film of mystical correspondences, Red triumphantly concludes and summarizes Krzysztof Kieslowski's Three Colors trilogy by contriving to tell us three stories about three separate characters all at once; yet it does this with such effortless musical grace that we may not even be aware of it at first. Two of the characters, both of them students, are neighbors in Geneva who never meet—a model named...

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Christopher Garbowski (essay date 1995)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Kieslowski's Seeing I/Eye," in The Polish Review, Vol. XL, No. 1, 1995, pp. 53-60.

[In the following essay, Garbowski discusses Kieslowski's use of point of view in his films.]

There is a scene in Bleu [Blue], the opening film of Krzysztof Kieslowski's trilogy Trois couleurs [Three Colors], which shows the director's mastery of unspoken dialogue with the viewer. The film's heroine Julie is sitting on a Parisian park bench facing the street. Following a whiteout, we see a bent elderly lady on the sidewalk slowly walking toward a bin with a plastic bottle in hand. She can barely reach the opening in order to dispose of the bottle. The viewer has...

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Janina Falkowska (essay date Winter 1995)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "'The Political' in the Films of Andrzej Wajda and Krzysztof Kieslowski," in Cinema Journal, Vol. 34, No. 2, Winter, 1995, pp. 37-50.

[In the following essay, Falkowska compares and contrasts the presentation of and audience reaction to the political content in Andrzej Wajda's Man of Iron and Kieslowski's Without End and A Short Film about Killing.]

Films of Polish directors are frequently called political or are said to reveal political content. This essay constitutes an introductory proposal for a new project exploring issues which I have been working on for some time. The project deals with the questions of politics in Eastern European film and...

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Georgia Brown (essay date May 1996)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Auteur Tricolore," in Art Forum, Vol. XXXIV, No. 9, May, 1996, pp. 21, 118.

[In the following essay, Brown traces Kieslowski's career from documentaries to feature films and analyzes the director's relationship to Poland.]

When Krzysztof Kieslowski retired from cinema at 52 "to sit on a bench in Poland," Cannes reporters seemed almost more shocked at the Poland part. (Why, when he could be sitting in Paris?) Two years later he left us wondering why anyone with his resources would have heart surgery in Warsaw. Few in the West understood the man's ferocious Polish complex. Because he came to the attention of most film audiences only in the final phase of his...

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Geoffrey Macnab and Chris Darke (essay date May 1996)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Working with Kieslowski," in Sight and Sound, Vol. 6, No. 5, May, 1996, pp. 16, 18.

[In the following essay, Macnab and Darke talk to three former colleagues of Kieslowski about working with the director.]

We were in the same school. Krzysztof was one year ahead of me. We didn't really work at school together because the system was to team up directors with cameramen who were one year up. It was incredibly difficult to get into Lodz film school. Exactly like Krzysztof, I applied three times before I was accepted. There were at least 25 candidates for each place. And usually half the places were taken up by people who had some kind of leverage, sons of...

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Angela Pope (essay date August 1996)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "In Memory," in Sight and Sound, Vol. 6, No. 8, August, 1996, p. 69.

[In the following essay, Pope asserts that Kieslowski's Three Colors: Blue "tells how, as they say, life goes on, and while you are alive you have no choice but to be part of it."]

We were there to choose Best Picture: David Leland, Harry Hook, Sally Hibbin, Mike Figgis, Simon Relph and me. Stephen Frears was late. When he finally arrived, it was quite an entry. "BAFTA owes me £7.50," he bellowed, slinging a seat stub across the table at Chairman Relph. "I paid … paid to see Forrest Gump." The message was clear; no one disagreed. Forrest Gump was no Best...

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Paul Coates (essay date Winter 1996–97)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "The Sense of an Ending: Reflections on Kieslowski's Trilogy," in Film Quarterly, Vol. 50, No. 2, Winter, 1996–97, pp. 19-26.

[In the following essay, Coates analyzes the misconceptions revolving around Kieslowski's films.]

Krzysztof Kieslowski's films have long resisted categorization. For the author of this piece, such Polish features as Camera Buff, Blind Chance, and No End had a paradoxical, teasing ability to be political without endorsing political melodramas, without dissipating the air of reality by dividing Polish society into angelic dissidents and demonic Party members, as the New Wave Polish poet and essayist Adam Zagajewski...

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Ruth and Archie Perlmutter (essay date Winter 1996–97)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "A Testament to Krzysztof Kieslowski," in Film Criticism, Vol. XXI, No. 2, Winter, 1996–97, pp. 59-61.

[In the following essay, the Perlmutters discuss the bio-documentary on Kieslowski's life, Krzysztof Kieslowski—I'm So-So by Krzysztof Wierzbicki.]

Very much like a fortuitous event in one of his own movies, Krzysztof Kieslowski, the renowned director, consented to be in a bio-documentary shortly before his death. Krzysztof Kieslowski—I'm So-So was made in Denmark by Krzysztof Wierzbicki, who had worked with Kieslowski as his assistant director on The Scar and Camera Buff.

Equally fortuitous was Wierzbicki's...

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Annette Insdorf (essay date March-April 1997)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "An Affectionate Look at Krzysztof Kieslowski's Three Colors," in Film Comment, Vol. 33, No. 2, March-April, 1997, pp. 46-8.

[In the followíng essay, Insdorf asserts that "White illustrates how Kieslowski is a cinematic 'poet,' a Polish artist whose rich audiovisual vocabulary expresses a profound vision of human fallibility, as well as transcendence."]

Three Colors: White is one of Krzysztof Kieslowski's deceptively simplest films. Of the trilogy, it has received the least critical attention, overshadowed by Blue and Red. But White illustrates how Kieslowski is a cinematic "poet," a Polish artist whose rich...

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Ruth Perlmutter (essay date Winter 1997–98)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Testament of the Father: Kieslowski's The Decalogue," in Film Criticism, Vol. XXII, No. 2, Winter, 1997–98, pp. 51-65.

[In the following essay, Perlmutter asserts, "Although glimmers of hope and oxymoronic moments of a kind of desperate joy temper the suffering throughout the ten films [of Kieslowski's The Decalogue], their message is clear—the Ten Commandments exist in our consciousness but are most often beyond our realization."]

The Decalogue marks an important midpoint in Krzysztof Kieslowski's career. As a kind of serialized melodrama, it consolidates his move from documentary to fiction after he first explored the disadvantages...

(The entire section is 4896 words.)