"Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy." Janusz is a taxi driver. It's Christmas Eve, and he honours the (Polish) traditions for this (holy) day: he gives presents to the members of his...
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"Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy." Janusz is a taxi driver. It's Christmas Eve, and he honours the (Polish) traditions for this (holy) day: he gives presents to the members of his family and attends Midnight Mass. Later, Ewa, a woman who he had betrayed his wife with three years earlier, asks him to help her. Her husband is missing, and she asks him to help her search for him. Should Janusz stay home to keep the day holy? Or should he help Ewa, who says she needs his help, to keep the day holy? Is it his duty to help her? This episode seems to be both about the third commandment and about some of the other commandments, for example "Thou shalt not commit adultery" and "Thou shalt not lie". Written by
Emotionally, psychologically, spiritually satisfying piece of filmmaking.
Seven years ago, Kieslowski's "Red" played in the local art theater in the dead of winter. I had wanted to watch it for some time. However, I was such a busy man at the time (trying to survive through med school) and plus the roads were in terrible condition for driving due to the snow. So I reluctantly took a pass on it and caught it on video a few months afterwards. Quite simply, it was one of the most jaw-droppingly extraordinary experience I had watching a movie. I still haven't quite recovered from it. On retrospect, it was one of the three best movies I had seen out of the 1990's, and I certainly have seen a lot of good ones. And thus my lifelong regret of not catching it on the big screen. I knew about "Decalogue" shortly thereafter but being a made for Polish TV movie that came out in the 1980's, I knew I didn't have a prayer in being able to watch this in my lifetime let alone catch it in the big screen.
And now the redemption. There must be a God who felt badly about my missed opportunity the first time around. "Decalogue Part 3" sneaked into the local art theater today and I dropped everything to go watch it. Knowing the essence of Kieslowski and being his fan certainly helps in viewing this work. While I'm not a fan of all of his works ("Blue" and "White" left me wanting something more and this is where "Red" did its part), when the man was on his game, he simply had no comparable peer in his field. "Decalogue Part 3" lasts about 1 hour but it conveyed to me a lifetime of sorrow, pain, missed opportunity, forgiveness, regret... The Polish scenery also perfectly captured this mood as well. I may just have to visit Poland one of these days to just take it all in. Also, I guess the film conveys man's need for religion and that probably is the basis for the whole Decalogue series, each one focussing on God's particular commandment. Wow! As big a reaction I had for "Red" only this time it was in a movie theater and not in my small apartment room. The scenes with the protagonists and the shaver was particularly heartbreaking, the one with the Christmas carol singers gave me a warm feeling. This movie replaced the documentary "Streetwise" as my favorite film of the 1980's. If you ever get a chance to see this, especially in the big screen, don't even hesitate. You may regret it for the rest of your life.
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