"I am the Lord thy God; thou shalt have no other God but me." Ten-year-old Pawel and his father Krzysztof run their lives on their beloved home computer, while Pawel's aunt worries that his... See full summary »
"I am the Lord thy God; thou shalt have no other God but me." Ten-year-old Pawel and his father Krzysztof run their lives on their beloved home computer, while Pawel's aunt worries that his spiritual education is being neglected. But Pawel is too busy enjoying life, not least thanks to his father's Christmas present of a pair of ice skates, because the computer has calculated that the frozen lake is safe to skate across... Written by
Michael Brooke <email@example.com>
This is the first film in the celebrated series of ten. Pay attention and the filmmaker introduces himself to us and indicates what is to come.
It is a particularly Polish idea (especially during communist rule) to have a superficial story and a more important subtext woven underneath. In this case, we have one level, ostensibly each film being derived from one of the ten commandments, in order. (This isn't quite true, but never mind.)
On that skeleton, Kieslowski's collaborator has written some fairly deft scenarios, each with an obvious problem and moral. Under that narrative, Kieslowski plants his own, purely cinematic insights, insights that often (but not here) are independent of the story.
In this film, those insights are on the nature of narrative, watching and calculation as it pertains to art. If you see it, you can readily extract a phrase to describe what he intends, but the point is that no such sum should ever be derived from what he does.
I've read all sorts of comparisons between this artist and others that seem to miss the point. Only in this one of the ten does our man brush up against concerns shared by Kubrick. But for Stanley, it was his reason to be. In this case, it is merely an essay on what is to follow.
Most filmmakers position themselves as one of the seven types of watchers that are available. All these choices are external of the narrative in the most important way. Kieslowski chooses to place himself, his eye (and therefore us) within the shared skin of the characters. It is a delicate trick, resulting from thousands of decisions a minute, made more difficult by working with a different camera operator each film.
But it is a matter of intuition, and cannot possibly be calculated or written in any way (other than giving the metaphysically obsessed character here -- someone who literally teaches semiotics -- the same name). His model is Tarkovsky before he drifted too close to the hamfisted Bergman.
Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.
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