Amator (1979) Poster

(1979)

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10/10
What Are You Shooting? …Everything That Moves
jkhuysmans02 April 2008
Ah for the love of film…In 2006, I was one internet flight ticket transaction click away from moving to the area of Poland for the duration, but didn't. The "good" reason being is that I suffered some seriously grave trepidation over the fact that I would need to have two months salary in the bank before I'd EVER raise enough capital to buy an 8 mm motion picture camera. And this was in 2006. Sadly, these hypertensive concerns about finances low, all sleepless nights over equipment I don't have, and from where in the heck is the next camera going to come turned out to be relative in the scope of things –in a sick and cyclical sense- and after interfacing with the characters of Kyrstof Kieslowski's incredibly moving Humanist Dark-Dramity, Camera Buff, for an hour and half, I'm just now harboring more than a few serious regrets about not actually abandoning the competitive, spiraling nightmare that is Western Life when I had the chance.

Camera Buff is a wonderful story about a factory worker Filip (Jerzy Stuhr); a man who, in his thirties, begins to see life anew through the view finder of a small gauge movie camera. Originally purchased for "two months salary," which "pissed his wife off" to document his newborn daughter's first few steps, the 8 mm camera is quickly realized as something more useful than just a device for making home-movies. The narrative's tension is organized specifically around the reaction to the films of the institutional power structures and forces around Filip that essentially commissioned, financed, and instigated the films themselves along with Filip's newly discovered and unyielding passion for creating them as he sees fit.

If you view the Kino Video DVD release of this film, perhaps even more profoundly affecting than the feature as an augury of hope for the human race is the sixteen minute black and white documentary entitled Talking Heads in which Kielowski conducts helter-skleter a multitude of fifteen second interviews about "who you are" and "what you want" with Polish citizens, age zero to one-hundred, across all walks of life starting at the year 1979 with a little gurgling baby. In all, it's wonderful material and has me seeking out more Kieslowski.
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10/10
The Turning Point Of A Simple Man
Rodrigo Amaro23 April 2010
There are times in our lives that a minor event becomes a biggest event, something that change your life for good or bad, but it's something that makes what you are and defines your whole journey through life. To me this thing was movies. Since I was kid I watched movies but I didn't have a greater perception of what movies were and their meaning, all I know is that I liked for some reason. When I grow older I noticed that is something very important to me and it was something that I couldn't live without, to remember good cinematic moments and to see a different look through our reality, to have different and pleasant experiences.

Since I'm talking about movies and turning points in someone's life, Krzysztof Kieslowski's "Amator" is a brilliant and deep look into the life of a man who accidentally became a filmmaker. Here, Filip Mosz (Jerzy Stuhr) is a happy man that awaits the birth of his first child and he buys a camera to film the event. After that he realizes that he created a magical world through what he filmed, he notices that everything is different, beautiful behind the lens of a camera and starts to make simple documentaries, filming his friends, his neighborhood and everything he finds interesting to film.

But one day someone told to his boss that he has a camera and he needs the camera because the Comunist Party wants to film a celebration of a great event in the town. Since Filip is a State civil servant (working in a factory) he's almost forced to film the event (he's the only person in the whole city to have a 8mm camera). What is interesting here is that Filip enjoyed filming the celebration, doing a great job that caught the attention of his bosses and his friends and that led his film to be registered into a film festival for amateur filmmakers. Filip sudden success makes him moving forward in the making of all sorts of documentaries, one of this documentaries features an midget hard working colleague of Filip in the leading role, something that his bosses doesn't want to be filmed, after all Filip's films are sponsored by the Comunist Party and they don't want to get involved with supposed controversial subjects. Here starts Filip's problems, because now he has a conscience about the power of movies, the influence that his documentaries has in people's lives, in the government, and what it's images may cause to his family and his friends. Is it possible that people can respect and accept what you do even if what you do it's something that pushes away from all the people you love and care? Is Filip a responsible filmmaker or he's just pretending to be someone he's not to get attention? What is best: to be truthful to yourself and lie to others to have good relations or be truthful to everyone and be hated for it? Many questions to be answered by the viewers in this exciting and wonderful film.

Kieslowski knows exactly what's he doing here. This story hands perfectly well to him not only because he's a great artist that deal with many obstacles to make his movies. No, he started filming documentaries,pretty much in what Filip does, filming for the Comunist Party in Poland. In one of the documentaries he accidentally filmed an killing, then his bosses were told and started to control all of his films since then. His first films were censored during the 1970's and beginning of 1980's so in "Amator" we know what he's saying about the control of what filmmakers can do or not. If you are familiar with his first films you can notice that in almost all of it he criticizes the government in one way or another, his attacks are very sharp, very subtle in films like "Bez Konca". With the Trilogy of Colors, "A Short Film About Love" and the "Dekalog" you'll see that he's a more artistic creator. But as in all of his films he's got the partnership of the writer Krzysztof Piesiwicz, a great collaborator.

The acting here is great: Jerzy Sthur in the leading role is awesome. His quietness and strange manners put him in the same type of a Carlitos the Chaplin character, sometimes he's funny, other times he's very impulsive. Malgorzata Zabkowska plays Filip's conflicted wife, a woman that wants the attention of his husband that seems to care more about his movies than to health of his child. In the role of Witek, Filip's best friend and supporter, Tadeusz Bradecki gives a very good performance, showing the limits of what a man can do to a friend and what he won't do. When the movie becomes too slow and sometimes depressive Witek appears to show a little bit of humor.

Another great and reflective work from the fantastic director Kryzsztof Kieslowski, a must see film for those who admires his films, and for those who love movies as I do. 10/10
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8/10
Cinema is the first art. - Lenin
lastliberal5 January 2009
An innocent enough decision. Filip (Jerzy Stuhr) buys a camera to film his new daughter. It costs two months salary and it makes him a celebrity of sorts as he is the only one in town that has one.

Now, his boss wants him to film the 25th anniversary celebration of the company. He really gets into filming and soon runs headlong into "rules." Of course, you have rules in a communist country. His wife is not too excited about his new hobby, but he soon gets his film entered into a film festival.

Soon, like all who truly love film, Filip is attending screenings, talking to directors, and reading film magazines to improve his craft. But, more and more his wife is displeased, and his boss is cooling to the idea as he moves from filming the company to social statements.

His desire for tranquility gives way to a desire for fame and art at the cost of his wife and family.

He also discovers the unintended consequences of reporting the truth. In the end he turns the camera on himself as he realizes he had everything in the beginning and lost it all.

A fascinating look at real cinema and finding what you want.
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9/10
A trajetória de um observador.
rbmf198418 May 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Filip Mosz is a typical polish man. His wife is pregnant, he has a modest job, and all he expects from life is tranquility. That is until he buys a camera to record his newborn daughter, month-by-month evolution. He has the first camera in town, his boss hears about that and asks him to document a business meeting they will be having. This is the beginning for Filip, from this on he begins to get more and more hooked up by films. Mosz is a character that was born to the camera, his naive and curious look give his film an award at the business film festival, and after that he go for his filmmaker side at full throttle. His films begins to get more sophisticated, and he starts knowing people from the business and getting good reviews. Near the end his boss take him for a walk, and they talk about the repercussions of Filips films on the town. At first Filip is mad at his boss, for it was not the first time the he would try to impose him censure for one of his movies. The thing is that for his new movie people Filip cares about will have a bad time. He finds out that what he does as a film-maker has consequences for many people, some good, some bad. And the thing is he can't control the interests, there will always be people who be affected negatively. So this film, has under the first look a discovery and later a dilemma, tat the main character has to attend. HE founds out that you can't be reckless when making movies, you have to be aware of what you may cause. There are things you want everybody to know, but sometimes it is best that this not happen. You can't be impartial, you ca~'t have a neutral camera, for a camera will always be the point of view of someone, not reality itself. So he has this dilemma : if he keep doing this, his acts will have consequences, consequences which he can not tell what will be.

The end of the movie is great too, very much like kieslowski. in the end, when he has decided to end with film-making. He turns the camera to himself, no longer being an spectator, but taking part of the action. SHe has been an expectator all along, as we can see with his wife. He goes away and he does nothing really about it. Things happen around him but he don't get very affected, until he switch positions.
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8/10
Captivating story
ellkew17 May 2008
I found this film enthralling and revealing about a man gradually discovering his purpose in life and the effect it has on those around him as well as the obstacles he now has to face. He must now face the political as he takes a stance on social issues in his life and his town. His naiveté is warming and it demonstrates what a great actor Stuhr is that the film chips away at this slowly as he awakens to the new realities of his life. From a man who had everything at the beginning he has now shattered his domestic life but gained something some would say far richer and more permanent for his soul, a purpose. One that helps him to 'understand what this shitty life is about'. The final shot brings the film full circle as we see a man in the grip of his obsession.
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7/10
Life through a lens
Painbow20 June 2008
I think there are only two truly great films about film making. One is Fellini's "eight and a half" and the other is this. We witness the transformation of a man from factory worker into artist. All achieved through the use of his camera and more specifically, the things he sees through the camera's lens. Kieslowski is clearly telling a story close to his heart here and shows the audience both the joy and freedom art can bring but also more tellingly, the obsession that can overtake ones life.

The performances are great and the film, in my opinion, is given further impact due to the political undertones that are unavoidable.

Kieslowski even seems to be condoning censorship by pointing out that when it occurs, it forces film makers to find ways around it and produce superior work as a consequence.

Not a perfect film by far but a film that points the way to a career that would continue to rise
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7/10
Portrait of the artist
paul2001sw-16 November 2004
Krzyszof Kieslowksi begun his career as a documentary film-maker. From the start, he seemed to know two things: that in the shabby, feudal bureaucracy that was communist Poland, everything was political; and that the camera is never truly neutral. It was the second concern that saw him shift into telling fictional, constructed stories; while the first, and his own struggles as a young director, inspired the subject of 'Camera Buff', his first feature. As well as its immediate subject, the film is also a fascinating portrayal of an unfashionable subject, namely the class system, alive and well in the supposed socialist utopia (Kieslowski was a great admirer of Ken Loach, so perhaps we should not be too surprised). The film starts as a black comedy in the manner of the tenth part of his later 'Dekalog', and is both very funny and immediately true to life; as it progresses, it becomes more serious but there isn't quite the emotional intensity that marks his greatest works. The score is also less remarkable than those in the films he made with Zbigniew Priesner, his permanent collaborator from the mid 1980s. But his skill at composing images that are simultaneously profoundly ordinary and starkly arresting is very much in evidence, as is the characteristic sense of an all-pervasive greyness in the lives of his characters, punctured only by shafts of colour when his hapless hero comes into contact with the affluent metropolitan elite. In Dennis Potter's 'The Singing Detective', a central theme is the way that the artist will stop at nothing in using their own life as material, and this is also a theme here, growing in importance as the movie progresses. It's an unusual subject for a debut, and can perhaps be seen as Kieslowski laying his cards on the table before he begun the game. Greatness lay just around the corner.
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8/10
very quirky and interesting film
MartinHafer14 February 2006
I really liked this film because it dared to be different and it was an excellent study of psychology. This movie was about a Polish man who scraped together his money in order to by an 8mm camera to film his new baby. However, shortly after getting the camera and beginning filming his wife and child, he gets really hooked on making his little films--and seems to film almost everything around him. At first, it's fun, but then it becomes an obsession. In the process, instead of LIVING and EXPERIENCING life with his little family, he is filming them in a very detached way. However, he is so into the filming that he hardly recognizes his wife's growing anger over that ^&@#*^@! camera! Then, when his boss sees him filming and asks him to make a film for the company, his problem grows by leaps and bounds. He seems to see himself as the next great documentary maker and begins to enter competitions and send his films to the television network. To his wife's chagrin, he receives positive reviews and by this point she's lost him--they have no real life together. Where the film goes from there I will leave for you to watch. It is a fascinating psychological study of a man and his obsession--as well as the impact this ultimately has on others around him. An excellent film.
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10/10
Kino moralnego niepokoju : An outstanding example of the cinema of the moral concern.
FilmCriticLalitRao2 July 2007
To an ordinary viewer "Amator" is a film about film-making.However I feel that this is only partially true as this film is much more than a film within a film.Amator is a wonderful film about the role cinema plays in human life along with basic emotions like joy, sorrow, suffering, humiliation, friendship, death etc. Much of the film's brilliance comes in the form of incredible acting performance by Jerzy Stuhr.He has given a masterful twist to his character named Filip Mosz. In "Amator",he knows fully well that he is suffering enormously due to the lack of creative freedom but despite this knowledge he resolutely decides to confront all his emotional crisis. There is no artistic freedom for him as his party officials do not allow him to make the films which he truly wants to make. His wife is against his film-making activities too. This takes toll on their domestic bliss too. In a broad perspective "Amator" talks of the difficulties most of the filmmakers Eastern Europe had to face when they were living under communist times.In " Amator", Kieslowski has shown how subtle films like this one can be made which are mildly critical of party. It would be of great interest to viewers conscious of the honest cinema movement called "cinema of the moral concern". For others it would be a good introduction to one of the outstanding films of East European cinema.
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8/10
Many interesting themes
bandw5 February 2012
Warning: Spoilers
It is the late 1970s in communist Poland where Filip Mosz works for a rather generic factory. He buys an 8mm camera to document the life of his newborn daughter. Shortly after getting the camera we see that Filip has more than a casual interest in using it. His interest and skill does not go unnoticed by his boss who appoints him as the company's official film archivist, in particular filming important company meetings and events. Filip's interest in filming is piqued and, with his winning the bronze award at a business film festival, he is in thrall to his camera.

Many people are interested in and devoted to their work, but I think that there are not so many who are truly passionate about it, as Filip is about his filming. Having a passion can be disruptive to one's personal life, since the passion will usually take priority over everything. The irony here is that Filip's passion ultimately estranges his wife and child--his initial reason for buying the camera results in that pursuit being lost. The most poignant scene in the movie for me was when Filip's wife walks out on him and, as she leaves, Filip is seen framing how he would film that scene.

Filip's passion also creates conflict between him and his boss. Filip wants to film everything, like two members of a meeting taking a break to go to the bathroom. When he embarks on a documentary of a handicapped employee the boss is not pleased, but Filip persists and finally the film winds up on television, in spite of discouragement from management. In an interesting twist, it is not Filip who is let go, but his immediate boss who allowed the filming to proceed. One message here is about unintended consequences, thinking about what effects your actions may have on others. Another message concerns how to resolve issues of personal integrity when in conflict with external pressures; what sacrifices are you willing to make to pursue your passion?

The DVD contains an interesting interview with Krzysztof Zanussi, a Polish director who was friends with Kieslowski. Zanussi appears as himself in "Camera Buff," giving an interview with a local film society. Kieslowski provides some gentle humor in satirizing the intellectualizing of film and film criticism. For example, a member of the jury deciding on Filip's film pompously announces that all the entries were inferior and it would be inconceivable to award a first prize.

Another excellent film on the topic of someone's developing a passion for film (in this case photography) and how that passion impacts lives is the biographical "Everlasting Moments."

"Camera Buff" is an unpretentious and accomplished film well worth watching.
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9/10
a great director's early work
tom kotarba23 December 2004
One of the most ambitious early works of Kieslowski, AMATOR, or CAMERABUFF is a great work, sadly not too well know by the world. I accidentally stumbled upon this film at my local video store, and noticed that Jerzy Stuhr was on the cover (the lead role). i have always liked Stuhr's acting, so i decided to pick it up. i also noticed that this was a film by K. Kieslowski, giving me even more reason to take this film out. after popping this movie into the VCR, the first thing that caught my eye was the beautiful, yet fore-shadowing, close-up, sun lit shot of the the bird (a recurring camera technique used by Kieslowski). the film was shot in a very minimalistic, and the narrative was very involving. Fascinatingly enough, the film starts out at a "high point", where all the characters seem at peace and ease, and then plunges down to a miserable low. the feeling at the end of the movie is in-describable... i recommend this Krzysztof Kieslowski film anyone really interested in his work. it was a very good early piece.
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9/10
The Magic of Cinema and Fascination of Creation
Ilpo Hirvonen8 August 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Krzysztof Kieslowski started his career by making documentary films. After he had made 9 documentaries he got the chance to make two feature films for the Polish television: Przejscie podziemne (1973) and Personel (1975). This allowed Kieslowski to direct his first film for theaters, Blizna (The Scar, 1976). The government of Poland didn't treat the film well, and it took about twenty years for anyone to see it. In 1979 Krzysztof made Amator (Camera Buff), a film about an amateur cameraman. Amator was his international breakthrough and it was awarded in the Moscow film festival.

A well-earning factory man, Filip Mosz buys a 8mm movie camera to film his daughter's early childhood. When the managers of the factory notice Filip's camera, they ask him to make a film about the company's 25th anniversary party. The film unintentionally gets to a local small festival and leads Filip quickly to the world of art-house cinema. But the success has its price and it causes troubles in Filip's work and private life.

Even in the very beginning of Filip's career he meets the problems of the Polish censorship. The film he made about the party should not have showed a mysterious eye-glassed man, pigeons on a window sale, businessmen going to the men's room or the performers getting paid. When Filip gets to an agreement with his boss, they get the film to the festival. The further Filip's career goes, the more he messes up with his private life. His wife, Irka Mosz is not happy about his new hobby, neither is his boss but he has to swallow the facts of Filip's 'success'

After the first film Filip makes a film about a short stature man, who works at the factory. This doesn't please the boss and he tries to make Filip not to continue making it. While watching Amator, one cannot help but see the connections to Kieslowski's own career. Amator also studies the difficulty of art in Poland during 1970's. As mentioned above, Kieslowski had problems with getting Blizna (The Scar) to the theaters, and it certainly wasn't the only one. The authorities didn't like his documentaries either, but through their own tracks, they had an impact on cinema.

Filip's dedication to cinema, makes his personal life hard and in result of that his wife leaves him. This leads Filip to the basic questions of making cinema, to the battle against the society's and his personal censorship. Amator is an ambiguous film with many layers and many meanings. It analyzes the difficult inner crisis in Poland, it researches the mission of cinema art and tells about the moments in the director's life. The earlier films of Kieslowski often got stuck with the Polish censorship and only after Amator he got his stable place in the European art-house cinema.

But Amator certainly isn't a description of the harsh life of filmmakers. Krzysztof Kieslowski writes in his interview book, Kieslowski on Kieslowski that he doesn't think family life necessarily is hard because of cinema. One might have the very same issues, even how much time one would spend with one's family. Whether you're a factory worker or a film director. Perhaps the love given in small doses is much more intense, than love in big doses.

Why does the amateur destroy his film in the end? Is it because he is tired of making cinema, the frustration and misery. But the ending agrees to give us an answer. Filip doesn't give up, he turns the camera to himself, to search himself, to study himself but also to continue making films. But why did Kieslowski show Filip destroying his film? Filip has got himself in a trap, from where he cannot move. He pleased the people he didn't want to, by making the film. Kieslowski says that he never had to destroy his work, but when he was making Dworzec (1981) the police wanted to check his camera if he had accidentally filmed a murderer. That was a time when Kieslowski could've destroyed his work, because helping the government without wanting to was something he never intended to do. So Amator is a very deep film with many meanings and purposes. Compared to Kieslowski's earlier feature film, Blizna (1976) Amator is much more complex, well written, personal and altogether well done. The audience gets to experience the magic of cinema at the same time with Filip. He sees the enormous ability of influencing and witnessing events - the fascination of creation.
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A Model of the Man as a Young Artist
tedg21 May 2007
A Model of the Man as a Young Artist

One of the best things in the world is to take someone you love deeply and trace them back in their histories, back back before you knew them. Back until you see all the butterflies that nudged each other to produce what you need and feed.

And before the shape was mature. Yes, then you can see the structure, the limbs before they flowered and even surprise yourself a bit.

I'm in love with Kieslowski. Oh he isn't my favorite filmmaker, and not the one I spend time with when I need to learn and grow. But he is someone to have tea with, a friend who has his own way of fluffing air with apparent lovely slight fogs but when you encounter them you find them informed, nourishing, psychotropic. More than lovely. "Heaven," though not all his, is something I wish on every soul and every vehicle he had driven until then carried him there.

This is Kielsowski's first feature. It was before he entered into that odd writing partnership where some external force (Piesiewicz) created some sort of conventional frame on which our artistlover could drape his folds, lace and knives. Before that clever partnership that hid the mechanics.

Here you can see his favored machine, the simple fold: a movie about movie-making and love, and all the related dimensions he knew at the time: intellectual, death, rutting, wistfulness, justice. Passions all. Urges all. At the end, it loops upon itself, the ladder complete to start again at the beginning of the next.

It isn't particularly profound or satisfying by itself. But if you are a lucid mind today, chances are you think about narrative flows and how you and the world use them to wind around and buffet each other. And almost certainly you have had tea with Kieslowski.

If so, you'll find this model of his younger self will tell you something about yourself in an odd, indirectly magical way. If you do, check out the trigger for passion here: Chopin.

Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.
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8/10
Existential
Varlaam29 May 1999
This Kieslowski drama, made prior to his great fame in the West, is the initially comic story of a man whose unfortunate acquisition of a movie camera makes him an observer, rather than a participant, in his own life. So begins his downward spiral into personal tragedy. Kafka stories are also amusing at the beginning.

The great Polish actor Jerzy Stuhr plays the man.

To me, the emblematic final shot of this film rivals that of Truffaut's "Les quatre cents coups".
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10/10
Now here is a film I can get behind.
Ben Parker6 May 2015
Another of Kieslowski's modern parables, but this time I love it. A man is given a movie camera when his daughter is born, and he's quite taken with it. The film is really interesting, good acting and writing; but I was drawn in by the sympathetic energy of the protagonist. He's just so likable. Perhaps I saw a bit of myself in his obsessive behaviour. There's so much humanity in this film. If the others are like this, I can see why he's so well loved.

+6 for a brilliant film about the creative urge +6 bonus points for the scene where he skulls an old-school Pepsi.

10/10, loved it.
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7/10
Good effort
Cosmoeticadotcom9 September 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Krzystof Kieslowski directed one of the more interesting self-reflexive films in 1979, when he filmed Camera Buff (Amator- literally Amateur), his second feature film, which runs an hour and fifty-two minutes. It is the one which made him a known commodity in the filmic world. While not a great film, it is a bit more successful a film than other fare from that era, such as his own Blind Chance, from 1981, and this film was a co-winner of the Grand Prize at the 1979 Moscow Film Festival, although that dubious festival's selections have long been known to be laughably bad, at their worst. As with many films made in countries with repressive countries, Camera Buff can get a bit didactic at times, but when it's not preaching it's a pretty good look at the art of film-making and the responsibility of an artist to himself and his art.

The tale is not a particularly fresh one, as it follows the life of a none too bright factory worker named Filip Mosz (Jerzy Stuhr, who later appears in White), a typically mousey Polish man who loves to drink, who is contented with his life as a husband and father of a newborn baby girl Irenka. However, when he decides to buy an 8 mm Russian camera, that costs two months of his salary, to record his daughter's childhood, his life quickly unravels. His wife Irka (Malgorzata Zabkowska) does not support his hobby, and selfishly wishes him ill. Eventually, she will leave him and take their child, even as she is pregnant with a second child. Hers is a character that is typical of the non-artistic mindset, as are the managers at the local factory he works for, as a nationwide buyer, who decide to underwrite his 'hobby' so he can film company propaganda about their Twenty-Fifth Anniversary. That and his subsequent films are rather dull treatises on banal aspects of life in a state run system, but somehow they get nominated for film awards at a local festival the company submits them to. In truth, they are particularly unartful films, which only highlights the absurdity of their political potential in a system where total faith is required.

Kieslowski has a good deal of fun with both the pomposity of such film festival sponsors, mere apparatchiks who clearly have no idea of what real art is, as well as poking fun at the bad artist types themselves, represented by a fiery character called The Lunatic, who hisses and rages at all such films. Filip's film wins third prize at the festival; really second prize, since all of the films are judged not good enough for a first prize. This is manifest to the viewer, but even the declarer of such dour judgments is shown satirically as a boob, and orates far too pompously about art. Of course, Filip's films attract the interest of a woman named Anna Wlodarczyk (Ewa Pokas), who is a national film board honcho who has slept her way to the top and soon becomes Filip's lover, as well as real-life Polish filmmaker Krzystof Zanussi, who gets Filip's films on local Polish television news, after meeting and arguing of film aesthetics with him in Lodz. Especially successful is a film Filip does on the life of a dwarf at the company. That this man is contented with his dull and deprived life says much of the dehumanizing conditions of Communism, but it also exposes Filip to the increasing censorship of the director of his company. The premise of this trope is that the camera can never be neutral, and all art is political. Of course, this is a fallacy, but one employed as the engine that sets this film in motion, despite its logical weakness and triteness….Camera Buff is a film that gives hints at the greatness Kieslowski had within, but it was still a few years away, and, even though it's a better film than Blind Chance, it's one that is probably best viewed after the later masterpieces, for then even its failures can have some resonances as trial runs for things other films would succeed far better at. Would that more people learned so well from their youthful endeavors.
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7/10
Early Subtle Winner From Kiéslowski
Vonia21 March 2018
Camera Buff (Polish: "Amator" ("Amateur")) (1979)

Life-changing hobby, Man who had or has it all? Stuhr's performance shines. As avid photographer, 7 Could relate to passion's cost. 7

Tanka, literally "short poem", is a form of poetry consisting of five lines, unrhymed, with the 5-7-5-7-7 syllable format. #Tanka #PoemReview
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9/10
Far from amateur and deserving of more love
TheLittleSongbird15 February 2017
Haven't seen every Kieslowski work yet (though as of now it's close), but of what has been seen all ranges between very good (the 8th episode of 'Dekalog') to masterpiece ('Three Colors: Red' and 'Blue' and the whole 'Dekalog' series). To me, he was an immensely gifted director, who died far too early.

An early effort, 'Camera Buff' is not among Kieslowski's best work, but generally it is deserving of more love. Although Kieslowski's directing style is fairly well established, remarkable for so early on, it did become more refined later on as seen with his late 80s-early 90s work. There is a preference for the more intricate-sounding music scores of his later work, this score was the kind that worked well within the film but one doesn't have the desire to hear it on its own repeatedly, and the slightly more emotional resonant and intense work like the best of the 'Dekalog' series, 'The Double Life of Veronique' and 'Three Colors: Red' and 'Blue'.

Despite how that sounds, there's actually not much wrong at all with 'Camera Buff', just that it was done better later. This said, 'Camera Buff' is a great film, regardless of what stage it was made in Kieslowski's career.

'Camera Buff', as was always the case in Kieslowski's work, is very well made. The cinematography is minimalist, but visually striking and atmospheric as well as fascinatingly personal. As well as being beautifully shot with atmospheric use of colour to match the mood, it is gritty yet beautiful with many thoughtful and emotionally powerful images lingering long into the memory. Kieslowski's direction is quietly unobtrusive, intelligently paced and never too heavy.

It's a thought-provoking film in writing, as ever thematically rich and with complex characters, the shift from initial comedy to drama expertly done rather than abrupt and jarring. Kieslowski again proves himself as a master of narrative construction, and the whole film is thoroughly engaging and suitably challenging. The acting is as always from Kieslowski marvellously nuanced and natural.

To conclude, early Kieslowski that while not one of his best is deserving of more love. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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6/10
Expression and Censorship
gavin69424 August 2016
Filip buys an eight-millimeter movie camera when his first child is born. Because it's the first camera in town, he's named official photographer by the local Party boss. His horizons widen when he is sent to regional film festivals with his first works but his focus on movie-making also leads to domestic strife and philosophical dilemmas.

"Camera Buff" explores censorship in Communist Poland and its repression of the individual's expression of his observations. Filip also confronts the consequences of a man who discovers new possibilities and finds his former world, which had been so fulfilling before he'd discovered filmmaking, rendered dull, old, and limited.

The story is interesting solely because of the Communist aspect. If it was just a story of man who becomes obsessed with making movies, it would be just another story about movies told in the form of a movie. But the Communist aspect? If one man in town has a camera, it suddenly becomes a tool for the entire city. It's interesting. This could be beautiful or ugly, depending on who happens to be in power.
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10/10
A wonderful film from a wonderful director!
Grace-188 May 1999
It's difficult to write something about this film, only because it is unbelievable; it's so good that it almost couldn't exist. The story is about a man who has a usual life: a wife, an employee... and when he buys a camera to register his daughter's birth he discovers a new world. He changes into a man who lives only for his movies, his objectives and everything else change. The most important thing is to make films. Beyond that he involves himself with the problems of the factory where he works and his films try to show those and because of his involvement he'll have some problems. The film is principally about movies about that people who love movies, special people...
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3/10
Put A (Lens) Cap On It!
ccthemovieman-117 February 2008
Here's another example of critics' comments on the back of a VHS box being very misleading to us unsuspecting buyers. Comments on the video box made this movie sound fascinating, a big visual treat and an interesting story with a suspenseful finish.. Sadly, it was none of those things.

By the way, for English-speaker viewers, this film is called "Camera Buff."

In truth, it was very boring film with unlikeable characters giving you nobody to root for or care about. The man character is a nerd who would rather watch others than do anything with his life.

This won the grand prize at the Moscow Film Festival, which shows you how bad things still were in Russia in the early '90s. I know things have gotten better.
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