Saturday, August 15, 2009

Kieslowksi and the Mystery of the Person

Behind the iron curtain, a young film student learned techniques that would later make him one of the most important directors of all time. Originally, he produced Polish documentaries but encountered an ethical dilemma when he interviewed a night porter who, during filming, said some things that needed to remain private. This director discovered that films examining real individuals risk violating the humanity of those they chronicle. This medium has a danger in that it can objectify and reduce real people. Krystztof Kieslowski changed his work and began to write and create fictional films. Since he was writing in Poland and his work needed to be approved by a communist censor before it could be shown, he and other filmmakers worked subversively to create films that attacked the materialistic culture in which they suffered. Ironically, the censor would frequently approve films whose purpose was to show that the Polish communist ideology did not correspond to the real world or to humanity. During this time, Kieslowski made The Scar, Camera Buff, Blind Chance, and the Decalogue. The final item is a series of films based on the Ten Commandments. After the Soviet Union collapsed and Poland was given some freedom, he created his final four works in France, Poland, and Switzerland. These films are Double Life of Veronique and the three colors series: Blue, White, and Red. These films apply liberty, fraternity, and equality to individual lives to demonstrate that these basic concepts do not correspond to the elementary needs of the human heart. His films have an ontological dimension that may discomfort viewers who are not used to considering lives and ideas in a pre-modern perspective. These last films are particularly important because they show us the cultural reduction of reason and how this weakening affects our lives and relationships.

An Interview with Kieslowski

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