Dekalog 7 & 8
This masterwork by Krzysztof Kieslowski is one of the twentieth century’s greatest achievements in visual storytelling. Originally made for Polish television, The Dekalog focuses on the residents of a housing complex in late-Communist Poland, whose lives become subtly intertwined as they face emotional dilemmas that are at once deeply personal and universally human. Its ten hour-long films, drawing from the Ten Commandments for thematic inspiration and an overarching structure, grapple deftly with complex moral and existential questions concerning life, death, love, hate, truth, and the passage of time. Shot by nine different cinematographers, with stirring music by Zbigniew Preisner, The Dekalog explores the unknowable forces that shape our lives.
Thou Shalt Not Steal (Dekalog 7)
Dir. Krzysztof Kieslowski. 1988, 55 mins. Restored DCP. With Anna Polony, Maja Barelkoska, Wiadyslaw Kowalski, Boguslaw Linda, Artur Barcis. “Can you steal your own property?” In Kieslowski’s complicated ethical gambit, the “property” in question turns out to be a child caught in a custody battle between a mother and grandmother. Majka abducts her six-year-old sister, Ania, and heads to the woods, challenging everyone to work out what should, could, and can never be done.
Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness (Dekalog 8)
Dir. Krzysztof Kieslowski. 1988, 55 mins. Restored DCP. With Maria Koscialkowska, Teresa Marczewska, Artur Barcis, Tadeusz Lomnicki. In this most troubling of all of Kieslowski’s moral provocations, an ethics professor, is forced to confront her wartime refusal to help a Jewish girl, allegedly because she didn’t want to have to tell a lie. Yet things are not quite what they seem, as her honesty may have saved the lives of countless others—or perhaps that is just what she was led to believe.
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