Dekalog (1989–1990)
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Decalogue Eight: Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness 

Dekalog, osiem (original title)
"Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour". A Polish-American researcher visits Warsaw and attends a lecture about ethics. Afterwards, she approaches Zofia, the lecturer, and... See full summary »
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Cast

Episode complete credited cast:
Maria Koscialkowska ...
Zofia
...
Elzbieta
...
Young Man
...
Tailor
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Wojciech Asinski
Marek Kepinski
Janusz Mond
Krzysztof Rojek
Wojciech Sanejko
Jerzy Schejbal ...
Ksiadz
Ewa Skibinska
Wojciech Starostecki ...
Student
Hanna Szczerkowska
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Storyline

"Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour". A Polish-American researcher visits Warsaw and attends a lecture about ethics. Afterwards, she approaches Zofia, the lecturer, and says that she is the little Jewish girl whom Zofia refused to shelter during World War II. But Zofia has a very good reason for her apparent cowardice... Written by Michael Brooke <michael@everyman.demon.co.uk>

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Drama

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22 June 1990 (Poland)  »

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Trivia

The ethical dilemma narrated by the student in Zofia's class is actually the plot of Decalogue II. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Dekalog 8
12 March 2016 | by (Greece) – See all my reviews

This is not a particularly remarkable Dekalog. But it's simple and lays out as clearly as any of them the blueprint that Kieslowski worked towards, both in these 10 Dekalogs, the longer short films, and it remains to be seen I guess if he perfects and evolves this for the color trilogy.

The twofold blueprint is that we have a world and a story that takes place. The world across the 10 Dekalogs is the same few months in the life of an apartment block, ostensibly the same few months the show aired. Here for example we have the story of Dekalog 2 with the dying husband laid through as something that happened in the same neighborhood.

Anyway this world is open-ended and ebbs forward and back with what the protagonists have set in motion around them. The most interesting thing about Dekalog is Kieslowski's ability, snippets of it in TV form, to render that visually as movements in emotional air.

The story each time focuses on a moral issue, here it's guilt, tied to the Polish experience of WWII and how it reverberates still. But time and again the story is reduced to two characters forlornly baring themselves to each other in a room, explaining or avoiding to. Bergman.

Here we have it clearly: the notion (during a class on ethics) of stories where readers (viewers) have to surmise the motivation of characters.

One of these viewers inside the class begins narrating her own story that begs for ethical interpretation: a Jewish girl in need of shelter from Nazi horror who was turned away from a Catholic Polish home.

Kieslowski attempts to visually inhabit a corner of this story (no more is allowed by the TV format): the old woman returns to the same WWII home where the story took place, the girl is lost and she looks for her distraught. She was the protagonist in that story, now inhabiting the memory of it.

Then we are back in a room where we have a deeper story that explains the former, giving us a plausible ethics that explain what seemed like wrongdoing at the time. This is the same Dekalog effort of setting up a story that they try to deepen later on with more complicated morals.

The idea is that we leave these Dekalogs with some insight into the destructiveness of what it means to inhabit a story (the Jewish girl carried that story of wrongdoing with her for 40 years) as well as some measure of realization about the complexity of inter-dependence forces at work behind the stories.

But this is too clear, a template on how to write rather than a poem.


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