"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
'Dekalog': Part 3- Time designations and the sanctity of time
'Dekalog' is a towering achievement and a televisual masterpiece that puts many feature films to shame, also pulling off a concept of great ambition brilliantly. Although a big admirer of Krzysztof Kieślowski (a gifted director taken from us too early), and who has yet to be disappointed by him, to me 'Dekalog' and 'Three Colours: Red' sees him at his best.
Episode 1 is to me some of the most thought-provoking and poignant pieces of television ever produced, and while Episode 2 dragged in places it was still wonderful and just as thoughtful, intelligent and emotional. Despite indicating in my review for the whole of 'Dekalog' that Episode 3 was a lesser episode (which for 'Dekalog' is not a bad thing, the lesser episodes still had many great merits which was testament to 'Dekalog's' quality and how brilliant the best episodes are), on reflection while not one of the best episodes that may be slightly unfair and compared to the other episodes it's pretty underrated. It may not be quite as memorable as the previous two stories, but has so many great things still.
As to be expected from Kieslowski, it is both beautiful and haunting to look at, with photography that's startling in its beauty and atmosphere. There are some very memorable images that add so much to the atmosphere and emotion of the story. The direction is quietly unobtrusive, intelligently paced and never too heavy, and the music is suitably intricate.
The themes and ideals are used to full potential, and the characters and their relationships and conflicts feel so real and emotionally resonant without being heavy-handed. The story is thought-provoking, intelligently executed and moving, complete with some welcome subtle black humour, executing well the theme of the respective commandment and showcases the negative effects the holiday season can have one those who are lonely equally well. Despite being based around one of the ten commandments, don't let that put you off, resemblance to religion is relatively scant.
As anticipated, the acting is another big strength, one cannot help being impressed with the complexity and nuance of the performances here. Daniel Olbrychski particularly excels.
Overall, another great episode and underrated. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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