Movies We've Just Watched discussion

32 views
Foreign Films > The Dekalog (1989, Kieslowski)

Comments Showing 1-13 of 13 (13 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Baxter (last edited Jun 12, 2012 10:10AM) (new)

Baxter (julietrocksmysocks) | 589 comments Wowza. Okay. The big one. Krzysztof Kieślowski's massive 10-part TV series, each episode dealing with one of the commandments.
I've just started to go through them, and have only finished the first so far, so let's just get to it!
The first episode deals with the commandment: I am the Lord your God; you shall have no other gods before me.

"I spilled the ink."
My heart broke.


message 2: by Phillip (last edited Jun 12, 2012 10:15AM) (new)

Phillip | 10544 comments damn, what a great way to realize this commandment ...

MASSIVE SPOILERS, KIDS

so, how genius was it for him to use a crappy little commodore-era computer as a false god? and that kid!

story line: a scientist (meteorologist) designs a computer program that predicts ice conditions on a lake so his son will know when it's safe to play on said frozen lake. apparently, computers are fallible ... if that sounds trite, or ridiculously simple, it isn't. you just have to see how it plays out.

keep an eye out for one character that appears in every episode.


message 3: by Baxter (new)

Baxter (julietrocksmysocks) | 589 comments I'm going to take a stab at it and say that the stranger by the fire is said character who appears in every episode. There's definitely something going on with him. The easiest thing (at least right now) is that he's like some sort of Jesus figure. You know, since at one point the dad is testing the ice himself late at night, and the stranger is sitting there staring at him. And when he goes back while searching for his son, not only is the stranger gone, but the fire he had is out too.
Of course, if he IS something akin to Jesus, then how about the opening shot where he looks up and stares directly at the camera (with, might I add, some of the most piercing blue eyes ever)?
Dang.


message 4: by Phillip (last edited Jun 12, 2012 10:49AM) (new)

Phillip | 10544 comments bingo ... although i hesitate to equate him too literally with jesus ... you'll see, i don't want to give it away.


message 5: by Sooz (last edited Sep 03, 2012 07:53AM) (new)

Sooz i am currently making my way through The Decalogue -i've seen five of the ten. the first one is incredible. watching the look of disbelief on the father's face as he watches the stain spread across the paper (when the ink spills) is one of the best examples of foreshadowing i've ever seen. i am filled with dread as i watch that stain spread ... knowing -without a doubt- something bad is coming. and like you Phillip, i love how Kieślowski illustrates the computer as a false god.

warning warning spoilers ahead ....the allegory is less straight forward in the next two episodes . Decalogue II is a story about an older doctor and his interactions between a man -who is his patient - and the man's wife who very much wants to know if her husband will live or die, as it will determine whether or not she aborts a baby fathered by another man. i'm guessing it's Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultry ?? BUT ... number III - the young woman who makes up a story about the disappearance of her husband in order to reconnect with the man she had an affair with- could also be an allegory for that commandment. regardless ... the characters must make choices in the face of moral dilemna and Kieślowski presents the stories so very well.

in II there is another wonderful moment of foreshadowing when the patient -who has been deathly ill- watches a wasp struggle to climb out of a glass of juice it has fallen into. this wasp, covered in sweet sticky juice just won't give up and eventually is able to right itself on to the handle of a spoon within the glass and climb out.

IV (Honour Thy Mother and Father) and V (Thou Shall Not Kill) are more straightforward.

i like that the main characters of earlier episodes make an appearance in later episodes. the doctor rides the elevator with the father and daughter of IV and the father from I has an appearance in III. i like the presence of the silent observant young man who has shown up in each episode so far. it seems to me he is the angel of death. even though -as Baxter- observed he has a Christ-like appearance, he seems to show up when the chances of death are strong.


message 6: by Phillip (last edited Sep 07, 2012 11:24AM) (new)

Phillip | 10544 comments so glad you are getting in to this, sooz! it's great film-making. THOU SHALT NOT KILL continues to haunt me to this day. i want to go back and see them all again - i had the box set for a while but sold it. i'm kicking myself for doing that.

i also like the way that the characters traverse the episodes - it underlines the interconnectedness of humanity amidst our folly.

love kieslowski - rip bright knight.


message 7: by Sooz (new)

Sooz all ten -while illustrating different commandments and moral dilemnas all kind of illustrate one universal -unwritten- commandment:

Thou Shalt Not Play Cat and Mouse -or in amy way- Fuck With Other People's Lives.

one commandment. that's it.

my favourites are:
Thou Shalt Have No Other God Before Me - it is so powerful and so heartbreaking.
Honour You Mother and Your Father - in which the young woman finds a letter from her father "to be opened after my death" and sets in motion a dramatic shift in their relationship.
Thou Shalt Not Steal - in which a young woman 'kidnaps' her little sister. this doesn't fall into our usual understanding of stealing - but as her reasons are revealed, it becomes more clear. i love Kielowski's less literal interpretation of this commandment, and his compassion for the young woman's situation.

oh and the cat and mouse interplay of Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultry was very well done, as was the portrait of the disconnected young man in Thou Shalt Not Kill.

damn, let's just say they were all good and leave it at that!


message 8: by Phillip (new)

Phillip | 10544 comments Sooz wrote: "all ten -while illustrating different commandments and moral dilemnas all kind of illustrate one universal -unwritten- commandment:

Thou Shalt Not Play Cat and Mouse -or in amy way- Fuck With Other People's Lives..."



love it - you are a genius, miss sooz.


message 9: by Erik F. (new)

Erik F. This whole project is excellent. Powerful, subtle, complex, thought-provoking. The first segment (with the computer program and the frozen lake) is crushingly sad -- I don't think I could bear that one again. My favorite is probably the sixth (where the young man uses his telescope to spy on a woman in an adjacent apartment), especially in its expanded form (called A Short Film About Love).


message 10: by Phillip (new)

Phillip | 10544 comments nice. i have viewed them a few times now and can never decide which one i like best - that seems to change from time to time. thou shalt not kill is one that packs the biggest whallop for me. the murder scene seems like late hitchcock (as in FRENZY) ... so gritty and unflinching.


 Δx Δp ≥ ½ ħ  (tivarepusoinegnimunamuhsunegiuq) | 218 comments Phillip wrote: "keep an eye out for one character that appears in every episode. "

and the milk...


message 12: by Phillip (last edited Dec 29, 2012 11:53AM) (new)

Phillip | 10544 comments and the milk - and the apartment complex and and and


message 13: by James (new)

James Finlan | 1 comments Phillip wrote: "damn, what a great way to realize this commandment ...

MASSIVE SPOILERS, KIDS

so, how genius was it for him to use a crappy little commodore-era computer as a false god? and that kid!

story lin..."


The false God in this film is logic. The computer is merely a representation of logic. The father's God is logic and yet even he has his doubts - after computing that it is logically safe for the boy to skate on the ice, he then goes out and checks it himself. In the end, he blames a God that he apparently doesn't believe in for taking his son's life. One of my favourite films!


back to top