Short Film About Killing (1988)


The film is not easy to watch, being the story of a  young man who kills a taxi driver and is caught, brought to trial, condemned to death and executed. Both deaths are dreadful and depicted in details  
A Short Film About Killing, Krzysztof Kieslowski's powerful examination of the nature of murder, was a stunning success at the 1988 Cannes Film Festival, taking home the Jury prize. In the same year, the film also captured Europe's coveted Felix award. An extended version of Decalogue 5A Short Film About Killing was one of two features to spring from Kieslowski's ten-part television drama about applying the Ten Commandments to modern-day life (the other being A Short Film About Love).


There are two murders in A Short Film About Killing: the killing of the cab driver, which runs slightly over seven minutes in length (may the longest murder in the history of cinema) and the execution of Jacek, a scene that lasts about five minutes and Kieslowski doesn't spare the audience any details. 

Jacek (Miroslaw Baka) climbs into the taxi driven by Waldemar (Jan Tesarz), tells him to drive to a remote location, then brutally strangles him seemingly without motive. He's soon arrested , with his only ally his idealist defense attorney , Piotr (Krzysztof Globisz) for whom this is the first case.  
Defending his client, Piotr throws himself into the trial, get emotionally connected to Jacek but but the outcome is never in doubt. 

"There are moments when you feel everything is possible" Piotr says to his girlfriend who he brought to cafe to celebrate passing the final exam and officially becoming lawyer certainly seems to be one of those moments for young Piotor. 
In the same cafe at the same time Jacek is eating the cake waiting for the police officer from the street to go away so he can go get available  taxi driver for ride in order to kill him. But there was nothing to be done there nor later during the trial , the destiny of the young Jacek seems to be written deep in the stone , as well as the one of the grumpy taxi driver Waldemar who would be alive has he picked the passenger he did not like few moments earlier.

On the other note the character of taxi driver Waldemar  is quite interestingly depicted  in this story and his love for "big dogs" and hate for the "small ones" is certainly something I can relate to . 



 

THE DECALOGUE

The Decalogue(1988). Initially made for Polish television with the idea of selecting ten different filmmakers to direct each one-hour episode—two of them to be expanded into theatrical features—Kieslowski and Piesiewicz began to “suspect intuitively that Decalogue could be marketed abroad.” Indeed, the series, which Kieslowski ultimately directed with nine different cinematographers, became a critical sensation on the festival circuit and served as the West’s first major exposure to his work.
The Decalogue films are noted for their tight dramatic constructions, vividly rendered characters, and emotionally resonant ethical dilemmas depicting characters attempting to live in the modern world according to (or in search of) presupposed ideals. Although Biblical in theme, the series’ only explicit foray into theological meaning occurs in Decalogue: One, with its heart-rending story of a father dependent upon rationality and technology who is devastated by his son’s illogical death. In a striking image, the father (played by Henryk Baranowski) knocks over an altar in grief, causing a candle to drip down the face a Virgin Mary icon like paraffin tears—an enigmatic and yet wholly appropriate beginning to a series confronting the harsh realities of daily life in dialectical relationship to its metaphysical values.
Kieslowski chose Decalogue: Five and the Ministry of Arts and Culture (who funded the series) chose Decalogue: Six as the two episodes to be expanded into features entitled, respectively, Short Film About Killing and A Short Film About Love 

Decalogue Synopsis>>>

Ten commandments, 10 films. Krzysztof Kieslowski sat for months in his small, smoke-filled room in Warsaw writing the scripts with a lawyer he’d met in the early 1980s, during the Solidarity trials. Krzysztof Piesiewicz didn’t know how to write, the director remembered, but he could talk. For hours they talked about Poland in turmoil, and together they wrote the screenplay for “No End” (1985), which told three stories of life under martial law. The government found it unsympathetic, the opposition found it compromised, and the Catholic church found it immoral. During the controversy, the collaborators ran into each other in the rain, and Piesiewicz, maybe looking for more trouble, shouted, “Someone should make a film about the Ten Commandments.”

They made 10 films, each an hour long, for Polish television. The series ran in the late 1980s, played at Venice and other film festivals, and gathered extraordinary praise. But the form was ungainly for theatrical showing (do you ask audiences to sit for 10 hours, or come for five two-hour sessions?), and “The Decalogue” never had an ordinary U.S. theatrical run, nor was it available here on video. Now, at last, it is being released in North America on tapes and DVD discs.

The 10 films are not philosophical abstractions but personal stories that involve us immediately; I hardly stirred during some of them. After seeing the series, Stanley Kubrick observed that Kieslowski and Piesiewicz “have the very rare ability to dramatize their ideas rather than just talking about them.” Quite so. There is not a moment when the characters talk about specific commandments or moral issues. Instead, they are absorbed in trying to deal with real-life ethical challenges.

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 SHORT FILM ABOUT KILLING (1988)

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