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This film should be seen as one of Kieslowski's best. It is structured
in three parts, each representing a different outcome of a single
chance event (Tom Tykwer flat out stole this idea for his great movie
Run, Lola, Run -- I'm not complaining, though). Kieslowski uses this
singular situation in which the viewer realizes that where you are in
life is largely due to chance to pose philosophical questions about how
an individual should deal with his surroundings.
Within the context of the socialist police state of Poland at that time he asks us if we are supposed to fight the system we live in, be part of it and change it from the inside, or whether being happy in life is the one thing we are actually responsible for? In other words, is it worth fighting against everything we don't like? Is accepting it no different from selling out? Should we just try to make the most of it? Kieslowski gives us no answers, which is why this film, as well as all other Kieslowski films I have seen, seems so honest, so true to life. The only honest answer to the hard questions is "I don't know"
The film is also graced with careful, subtle characterizations, beautiful but gritty camera-work, a true comprehension of human emotions as well as of human conflict, and the style and brilliance of a man who truly understands.
I know this: Kieslowski is a master.
Having read a few negative comments on "Blind Chance", I felt compelled to
express my opinion on what has become one of my absolute favorite films.
I'm surprised to find that some Kieslowski fans, especially those who
appreciate the colors trilogy, don't understand "Blind Chance." In my
opinion, "Blind Chance" encapsulates many of the ideas and themes
later explored in more detail.
However, "Blind Chance" is, ultimately, a political film. Although Kieslowski never really considered himself a political film-maker (compared to some of his contemporaries), "Blind Chance" is very much driven by political undercurrents and the outcome of each scenario has a decidedly political aspect. That said, the film transcends the immediate political situation in Poland as well and elevates "politics" to a much broader all-encompassing level. It is really not Polish politics that concern Kieslowski here, but the human being's capacity for taking action. Each scenario presents a possible course of action (or non-action). Kieslowski doesn't seem to endorse one course over the other, but makes a much broader statement about the need to take action, to believe in something, and to fight for something. What one is fighting for, what one believes in, ultimately isn't as important as the fight itself.
A brilliant and highly thought-provoking film. In my opinion, one of Kieslowski's most accomplished and densely-packed works. I hope that anyone who didn't appreciate "Blind Chance" will give it another chance (I've watched it at least ten times). It is not the most accessible film, but the pay-off is worth the effort.
No way I could read the previous terrible review and not comment.
This film is outstanding and is a must-see for anyone interested in films by Kieslowski and films of this era. It is also a great film for non-film buffs who are interested in the experience of Eastern European Communism.
This movie formats the ethical problems of living under/in Communism better than any professor or history book. You don't have to have an intricate knowledge of communism, ethics, or of post-WWII Polish history to enjoy the film. But you have to follow each scenario closely. You can't doze off or leave the theater. (I would think that the 3-in-1 format alone would be enjoyable for the average viewer--who should be able to clearly delineate the basic dilemmas in each setting.)
Those who did not live in Poland or Central and Eastern Europe can probably not fully relate to the multiple ethical obstacles daily life presented and the existential nature of it all. However, we all have choices to make in our daily lives. Although in a totally different setting, we all must make a choice to join, resist, or withdraw in various stages of our lives.
I would strongly encourage anyone to view this film. I would also encourage the previous reviewer, and any viewer of the film, to watch it more than once.
The recent romantic comedy 'Sliding Doors' postulated what might happen
if a character caught, or did not catch, a particular train. But master
Polish film maker Krzysztof Kieslowski had had this idea twenty years
earlier, and in his film 'Blind Chance', he used it to much more
serious purpose: to explore the interplay of chance and character in
the fate of a man. At the same time, he painted a picture of Poland in
a state of flux (the film was made during the period of martial law,
and duly suppressed for five years); and of the way the same moral
choices confront everyone, albeit in different forms. The film lacks
the high artistry of his subsequent works, but his ability to distill
the essence of life into minimalist drama is already much in evidence.
The stark awfulness of the communist regime may have aided him in this,
as evidenced by the looser, more mystical nature of his final,
French-set work. But his greatest achievements, the openly political
'No End' and the perfect morality plays of the 'Dekalog', can each be
seen as natural extensions of the themes of 'Blind Chance'.
In the film's final scene, an aircraft takes off, but to us, it appears as if it is sinking into the earth. The world of cinema is poorer without its director and his bleak, poetic visions.
When seeing this movie I had 3 disadvantages: I am not Polish so I could
completeley identify with the scenario. I do not speak Polish and I lost a
lot on the poor english translation that is not even my native language.
Lastly, it was very late in the night and I was exhausted.
Yet, this is probably one of my all time favorite movies eventhough I am not a loyal Kieslowski fan. The subject of the movie is what makes the whole difference. A very interesting issue about life that I am sure is bothering a lot of people in the world. Very human plot with a lot of symbolic scenes. Do not expect to fully grasp the idea by watching it only once. And absolutely do no refrain from watching this movie at all, if you are a serious movie watcher. I give it a very enthusiastic 10.
This is no doubt one of my most favorite films of all times. It has a
screenplay filled with powerful and true characters. The cast is just
And the gloomy atmosphere of our country back in the seventies...
The only flaw that I can think of is the fact that this film is probably very hard to understand for non-Poles as it is so very... Polish. And although the message the movie tries to convey seems to be more universal, you probably cannot get the whole of it if you were not born in a country located between Russia and Germany.
And if you compare this one to last year Peter Howitt's flick "Sliding Doors"... See how films of similar content can differ?
This is a very very good film. Here, Mr. Kislowski managed to show the life of an ordinary man who lives in a very troubled time. The film in fact has three shorter stories, each has the same beginning and then we see the possible outcomes of each. Witek Dlugosz, a medical student, is running after the train to Warsaw, trying to catch it. In the first variant, he catches it, comes to Warsaw and suddenly becomes involved in the political turmoil of the 1981's Polish strikes and anti-Communist movements. Seems like Witek doesn't understand fully what he does, anyway, he shows real courage when saving the hostages from the mental institute. He becomes somewhat of the ruling Party's darling, so when his friends are arrested, he is untouchable and retains his freedom. The 1st story ends with Witek's fit of fury at the airport, just before the flight to Paris. The 2nd variant shows Witek becoming one of those protesters, so he is in the middle of the struggle, but his sudden love affair miraculously saves him from the arrest, but however pays him his status in the eyes of his companions. The 3rs film shows Witek as a prominent doctor, he is well-known and respectable, but when he starts his flight to Paris, the plane explodes. All in all, the film is a great work, it does show every minute of common people's lives, their fears and pain, their small joys and tragedies. Young Boguslaw Linda, who plays Witek, is a superb actor, his delivery is smooth and excellent. Highly recommended for all those who like films not about politics but about common people...
In 1981 in the troubled Poland, when the father of the medical student
Wietold Dlugosz (Boguslaw Linda) dies, he asks one year leave to the
dean of the university to rethink his vocation to medicine. He decides
to travel to Warsaw, but while running after the train in the station,
three possible events happen. In the first possibility, Witek reaches
the train, meets his former sweetheart Czuszka (Boguslawa Pawelec) that
belongs to an Anti-Communist underground movement and joins the Party
after saving hostages of protesters in a building. In the second
possibility, Witek is caught by a guard in the station while running to
catch the train and reacts, being sent to the court and sentenced to
thirty days of community work. He joins the group of students that are
against the system, publishing papers in an underground press. While
his comrades are arrested by the government agents, Witek is having a
love affair with the sister of a childhood friend and escapes from
prison; however, his former companions believe he is a traitor. On the
third possibility, Witek does not reach the train and decides to return
to the university and conclude the medicine course. He marries his
girlfriend Olga (Monika Gozdzik) and they graduate in the medical
school. They become successful doctors and Witek accepts to travel to
Paris to present the lecture of the dean, who was disgraced with the
Party when his son was arrested in a movement against the government.
The three serendipities do not bring happiness to Witek.
The original "Przypadek" discloses three possible lives of the lead character Wietold Dlugosz in the turmoil of Poland in the early 80's. The beginning of the movie is a little confused and even boring since there is no previous development of the characters or the political environment of Poland in that moment. However, the plot becomes clearer and engaging when Witek runs to catch the train. The first movie that I recall showing alternative life is certainly Frank Capra's "It's a Wonderful Life" (1946). However, Krzysztof Kieslowski uses a totally different context in his story, but later in 1998, Tom Twyker with "Run Lola Run" and Peter Howitt with "Sliding Doors" made rip-offs of Kieslowski's idea. This theme is very attractive since most of the people have certainly had at least one daydream supposing what if he or she had made a different choice in life in the past. My vote is eight.
Title (Brazil): "Acaso" ("Chance")
Blind Chance (Przypadek, 1981) is the first of Kieslowski's films to trade upon explicitly religious themes and seems to mark the beginning of the great director's turn toward introspection and the spiritual realm that so characterizes his later work (especially Decalogue and the Three Colors trilogy). The Polish title could be literally translated "coincidence," an appropriate if possibly ironic title for a three-part film about a young man whose life course appears to be solely determined by his ability or inability to catch a train. Kieslowski has his doubts about such coincidences, for he described the film as "a description of the powers which meddle with our fate, which push us one way or another" (Kieslowski on Kieslowski, ed. Danusia Stok 113). Incidentally, this film inspired Peter Howitt's film Sliding Doors (1998) and Tom Tykwer's Run Lola Run (1998), but to my mind, Kieslowski's is a superior film. The original tends to be the best, and he is a true original.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I think one has to have some sense of history about both east European
communism and film to have an appreciation for this film. This theme,
of alternate Universes remains popular and tried today in films like
Butterfly Effect and others.
Nasim Taleb wrote a book called Fooled by Randomness that deals with this subject as well. We are, to some large degree, the product of our environments and those environments throw us curves and choices everyday that affect our lives.
Krzysztof Kieslowski (KK) gives us a glimpse into how easy these Universes split in just the details surrounding the catching of a train, which is a common experience for most Europeans.
Consider yourself, in your own life how some little detail made all the difference. Who you sat next to in a class and how they became your spouse or best friend, the close call car wreck that could have ended it all for you. Nassim Taleb calls those events when they happen a 'black swan'.
Black swans can be good or bad wrote Nassim to me once but I prefer to think of black swans as rare and tragic events, gray swans as near misses and white swans of something fortunate.
Witek encountered all of those swans, as do we. He continued to keep true to himself (as he lived out each reality) and in the end the same black swan awaited his fate regardless of what happened in between. The flight to Paris was always in the cards for him.
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