Superbly great Polish
, allusive and poetic, famous principally for the two series Dekalog
, of ten films based very loosely on the Ten Commandments
, and Three Colours
, three films based very loosely indeed on the tricolor
, and equality
. He also made The Double Life of Véronique
, and Bez Końca
(Without End). Several of these feature Irène Jacob
and Grażyna Szapołowska
. He died comparatively young and is much lamented.
7th Nov. 2001. That was my E1 node. Let me try to expand on it: E2 deserves a bit more.
He was born on 27 June 1941, in Warsaw, and studied directing at the Łódź Film School from 1964 to 1968.
His TV debut was The Photograph in 1969. Other early films include Camera Buff (1979) about a filmmaker who starts making more realistic, documentary films. In Blind Chance (1981, banned until 1987) three possible directions of a story are explored. I haven't seen any of those.
In Bez Końca (No End), a husband is dead at the beginning of the film, and watches his wife live. She (Grażyna Szapołowska) offers herself to a young American, and during their lovemaking, because he does not understand Polish, she can spill out the whole story of her feelings.
Dekalog came in 1988. I can't remember all the plots. The first (having no other god) tells of a man with faith in science who uses a computer to calculate the thickness of ice it is safe for his young son to go out on, with tragic results.
The ones about murder and adultery were later expanded into longer films called A Short Film About Killing, a horrific exposé of capital punishment quite as brutal as the murder it punishes (I recall reading it made a considerable effect in Poland and may have resulted in a change in the law, but I'd better not assert that); and A Short Film About Love, in which a timid youth is obsessed with a glamorous lady (Szapołowska again) whom he spies on through a telescope, until she catches him and coldly initiates him into the unloving mechanics of love.
At the time of his death (on 13 March 1996, two days after a heart bypass) he was supposedly planning another trilogy, of Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven. His late major films were co-written with Krzysztof Piesiewicz (b. 1945).
Music for his films was often composed by Zbigniew Preisner (b. 1955), who is almost exclusively associated with him, as far as I know; I've only once heard his music played on the radio in its own right. He is a kind of busy, repetitive composer a little bit like Michael Nyman. His work has an especially central role in Blue (1993), where Juliette Binoche plays Julie de Courcy, widow of a great French composer, killed at the beginning of the film, who was working on a grand triumphal cantata for the European Union. It is stirring music, but perhaps not entirely believable for what it's meant to be. He also provides the music for a fictional baroque composer called Van den Budenmayer who is mentioned in several films.
The great trilogy needs to be seen in the order Blue - White - Red. Remember, it's the French tricolor, not the familiar English red-white-and-blue. It makes an important difference at the end of Red, when the three connect up again as they have at brief points during them.
The Tram (1966)
The Office (1966)
Concert of Requests (1967)
The Photograph (1968)
From the City of Łódź (1969)
I Was a Soldier (1970)
Before the Rally (1971)
Between Wrocław and Zielona Góra (1972)
The Principles of Safety and Hygiene in a Copper Mine (1972)
Workers '71: nothing about us without us (1972)
Pedestrian Subway (1973)
First Love (1974)
Curriculum Vitae (1975)
The Scar (1976)
The Calm (1976)
From A Night Porter's Point of View (1977)
I Don't Know (1977)
Seven Women of Different Ages (1978)
Camera Buff (1979)
Talking Heads (1980)
Blind Chance (1981)
Short Working Day (1981)
No End (1984)
Seven Days a Week (1988)
A Short Film About Killing (1988)
A Short Film About Love (1988)
The Double Life of Véronique (1992)
Three Colours: Blue (1993)
Three Colours: White (1994)
Three Colours: Red (1994)
There's a list of all websites about him, and about his actresses such as Binoche, Jacob, and Julie Delpy (star of White, at: http://www.petey.com/kklist/pjkweb.htm
Of these possibly the best is http://www-personal.engin.umich.edu/~zbigniew/Kieslowski/kieslowski.html