He was a Polish gem. I absolutely love the Three Colors series, The Dekalog series and the Short Film series. I can’t seem to figure why only one of his films got inducted into the Criterion. They might be from a series, but they’re still individual films no?
And why, why is there no Krzysztof Kieslowski under the Talent section on these forums? How do I get his name there?
Absolutely essential that Kieslowski’s name be added to the talent section, if it isn’t there. He was one of the few film artists whose death I mourned – something unique in film history died with him. He had an integrity that was very rare, like Bresson perhaps or Dreyer, and left us an insprining body of work. Thanks for pointing this out, Nikhil.
His films certainly had a spirit to them no one else ever did or will be able to capture. He was a true genius and artist. It is greatly discerning that he wasn’t able to create more beautiful art for us to enjoy. He has had a profound effect on how I feel about films, art, and life in general. He deserves all the respect possible.
The main man Efe said a Kieslowski page is going up soon. Yay!
And the documentaries. I read somewhere he quit making documentaries because one was used as evidence of some sort in a criminal case, and Workers ’71 was heavily censored thus defeating the purpose of a documentary.
“all the respect possible” — right said Campbell.
I screened Decalogue 5 (thou shall not kill) to a group of teenagers to give them a chance to see what film as art really looks like. Initially I thought a dark piece from Communist Poland on a sunny Friday afternoon might not resonate with them, but afterwards… a horde of them came up asking to borrow the rest of the series. Kieslowski’s work is truly genius. Also, the 3 Colors films are among the very best.
Absolutely underrated. I thought the Decalogue was brilliant. I still remember a few critics from respectable film magazines in the U.S. who hated the Three Colors series and panned it when it came out. They all should get a fuckin’ real job. By the merits of his short films and docs alone, he should definitely be on the talent section.
My personal favorite is The Double Life of Veronique. This film absolutely mesmerizes me from beginning to end. The story,
the camerawork and that great musical score by Zbigniew Preisner, all under the great direction of Kieslowski. What a truly
amazing talent this man was and a damn shame no really ever took notice.
Kieslowski is a great filmmaker and to me his two crowning works are Veronique and Decalogue, both of which capture Kieslowski during his French and Polish period perfectly. Three Colors is interesting and I think it is essential to view them as one film divided up into three parts, despite how seemingly separate they are with their individual stories. I think too many critics didn’t take this into account, nor look at the symbolism of the films, and panned them based on mere narrative judgments. That said, I feel White is very under-appreciated, perhaps because it is the middle chapter and how different it it from Blue and Red. I suppose White’s use of a Polish male lead causes it to be more representative of Kieslowski himself. I recommend Kino’s boxset to anyone looking to explore Kieslowski outside of the Decalogue and Colors, it includes the lengthened versions of two of the Decalogue chapters.
He’s not underrated, especially not by me.
I’m with Allison on this … there should be an adjective in modern movie talk: kieslowskian. So many have borrowed from him, or ripped him off outright. (We could all make another list.)
But go back to Blind Chance, a wonderful film, an early play with fate and coincidence. Plenty of artifice here of course, the same story told three times. But with each telling Kieslowski gives us an honest tale, and Witek, his protagonist, is always consistent, his basic humanity unchanging in whatever his situations, professions, relations with women. This is Kieslowski’s humanity, always evident in everything he did. He was quite special.
Apparently he is terribly underrated in Poland. Most Poles know of him but don’t care too much for his films. I can tell you this because earlier today I was discussing Kieslowski with this designer who hails from Poland. He also tells me that filmmakers like Andrzej Wajda are held in high regard by film goers there for his box-office successes.
I can completely understand that.
But then, when I browse through esoteric territories, like The Auteurs for instance, I hardly find a single topic discussing his work. I was surprised, given that most members involved in discussions here have in-depth knowledge about films, filmmakers and world cinema – ten folds more than me, an immature cinephile. I go through the lists – list of films that should be on Criterion, or lists of the best-this and the the best-that – and Kieslowski is never, or very rarely, mentioned. And then when his name was missed out on the Talent section, I was furious. Hence this thread.
JP.. Personally, White is my favorite of the Three Colors. That along with A Short Film About Killing, A Short Film About Love, The Double Life of Veronique and Blind Chance are five unforgettable films for me. I might treat myself this Christmas and New Year and buy a couple of his films I haven’t seen on DVD. I own four of the six from the box set, so that wouldn’t make sense.
It sounds like a case where Kieslowski isn’t appreciated in his own country. He did move to France and he made the best films in his career in France and in French for the remainder of his career.
Not in my country, he’s not, sorry. So underrated? By whom? On what ground?
Found this article I read a few months ago..
…We promoted the hell out of the film, and, despite a bad
review in The New York Times and an even worse review in
the Los Angeles Times from Peter Rainer, who compared the
film to a perfume commercial….
- Harvey Weinstein on The Double Life of Veronique
Read the rest of the article here
My friend who grew up in East Berlin was the one who turned me on to his work. She watched The Decalogue as it was aired on television in the 80s. I got the impression that people who experienced this reality did appreciate his contributions to film.
Nikhil, I think we never should trust my man Harvey, he’s a bad bad ass… New York, Los Angeles… it must be off the map, I can’t find it on google earth. Peter Rainer who the f… is he? It’s not because two moviegoers payed to write some article at the end of a column say it’s bad that it is underrated. After all, you can dislike la double vie de Véronique and you can like perfume commercial for all I care. I doesn’t mean nothing. the movie is here. It counts. Kieslowski did maybe not achieve all his work like he oughta.
I am as of yet a novice to Kieslowski, but after I stumbled upon La Double Vie de Veronique, I found myself wondering why the F**k I hadn’t heard about this man, based soley on this film I am in love with his style, and will be watching all I can get my hands on in the near future!
I had to make this confession – never ever watched a kieslowski film. I heard and read a lot about his movies but watching his work never happened.
BlockBuster has The Double life of Veronique and Blue, I will start with those and I will keep you guys updated.
Just ordered some Kieslowski from Kino. International shipping is a bitch. But, hey, it’s Christmas!
His “Camera Buff” is quite underrated, certainly one of the greatest movies about moviemaking from the ground up. Perhaps he should be slightly more considered as one of the foremost directors of women of the 80s and 90s. But Three Colors, Dekalog, and Veronique are well enough regarded, methinks, to make his place in modern world cinema secure.
I think much of his work is underrated, because the vagaries of international distribution means that a disproportionate amount of attention is paid to what I call his international metaphysical period – THE DOUBLE LIFE OF VERONIQUE and the THREE COLOURS trilogy. And while the merits of these films are considerable, I don’t think they’re necessarily superior to his 1970s and 1980s films.
In fact, in several respects I find them less interesting, though this may betray the fact that I first became aware of Kieslowski in the 1980s, when he was regarded (entirely reasonably) as one of the most brilliantly astute anatomists of the political, cultural and spiritual malaise afflicting his native country. He’s also amassed a substantial body of work as a documentarist – the vast bulk of his output from 1966-81 was non-fiction, and even if he’d never made a commercial feature film his place in Polish film history would be secure even if few outside Poland would ever have heard of him.
Talking of which, I’ve recently been exploring the work of Kieslowski’s long-term friend, fellow student and occasional colleague Marcel Lozinski, whose work is very very similar in a great many respects (even to the point of nudging the metaphysical at times), though unlike Kieslowski he never made the leap into fiction, so he’s probably doomed to remain a footnote in even Polish film histories. But Kieslowski fans should definitely check out HOW TO LIVE (1977), WITNESSES (1987), 89MM FROM EUROPE (1993), ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN (1995) and his most recent, POSTE RESTANTE (2008).
Yes he is incredibly underrated. I might be as bold as saying along with Bergman and Kubrick he is one of the three greatest directors. I just watched The Double Life of Veronique for the first time and am speechless. I’m looking forward to watching his lesser known works.
WILL check out Lozinski!!!
Yes! Red is the MOST romantic film ever. I love it so much… so much that I will probably never watch it again.
I completely fell in love with Irene Jacob. Then, I did it again when Double Life came on DVD. I think I need to watch Double Life again… like I missed something.
AND, I never finished NO END. I think I will some day.
BLIND CHANCE is fun… but doesn’t hold a candle to those last 4 films for me. But, yes, as someone else said, it shows the future of Kieslowski.
Has anyone read the Kieslowski book by ZIZEK??
Oh man Fredo you are missing out. Buy Dekalog and have your mind blown.
Ha – I think I’ll let some other director blow my mind. I’ve heard of Kieslowski but only in passing. So the answer to the question of the thread is then obviously “Yes, he is underrated.” I rented the Dekalog several years ago from Netflix with the intent of watching all the episodes but I got maybe 30 minutes into the first one and just couldn’t get into it. This was a couple years ago and maybe I’d feel differently now but my initial response to the film was not good (it felt like a bad European TV show; I recall that annoying me – wasn’t it a Polish miniserious or something? I don’t know). Yeah ok, I’ll check him out…eventually.
Alexander, I own the Zizek book on Kieslowski. I haven’t gotten through it yet, but given Zizek’s amazing essay in the Double Life Criterion disc, I know it will be amazing. Unfortunately, I had to pay like $85 for the book because it is out of print.
I got into Kieslowski when I got the Three Colors trilogy as a gift. I really enjoyed Blue and Red, but didn’t care for White. Now I’m halfway through The Decalogue, and it is fantastic. Once I finish that, I’m going to watch The Double Life of Veronique and the two short films. What other Kieslowski films are worth checking out?