A very interesting attempt to go beyond imposed filmic and social schemas. Shot with a hidden camera at the counter of the (state-owned) Social Security office, this satire on bureaucracy and clerical soullessness is right on target. A queue forms in front of the counter window and the clerk repeats the question: “What have you done in your lifetime?” Image and original sound have an equal dramaturgical function. —IMDb
A towering figure of Eastern European cinema, Krzysztof Kieslowski was born in Warsaw, Poland, on June 27, 1941. His formative years, spent under the specters of Hitler and Stalin, were nomadic; his father suffered from tuberculosis, and the family traveled from one sanatorium to another. At the age of 16, Kieslowski entered Fireman’s Training College. His stay was short-lived, instilling a lifelong loathing of uniforms and disciplines. To avoid military service he returned to school, later attending the Warsaw College for Theatre Technicians. In 1965, after several previous rejections, he was finally accepted into the famed Lodz Film School — the same institution which launched the careers of Roman Polanski, Andrzej Wadja, Jerzy Skolimowski, and Krzysztof Zanussi — and made his first short feature, Tramwaj (The Tram), the following year.
The communist-controlled Poland of the 1960s and 1970s was a nation of great political unrest. Consequently, film emerged as a crucial means… read more