Dekalog (Krzysztof Kieślowski, 1988)

What's it about? Ten Commandments, ten films. Why didn't anyone think of it before? Ten independent, but interconnected, one-hour films, each telling a story of different people living in a apartment complex in Warsaw and each thematically linked to a Commandment. So we have stories about a boy and his father trusting in a computer to predict if it's safe to skate on the ice (false gods); a young murderer condemned to Death Row (thou shalt not kill); a Peeping Tom (thou shalt not commit adultery) and so on.

Is it any good? Actually, matching up each film to a Commandment is a bit of a red herring, since it's not so obvious in some of the stories, whilst some seem to deal with more than one. But one thing is sure, no other film project has succeeded as well in capturing the full range of emotions that make up the complex nature of humans and their relationships. You'll probably respond to certain segments more than others, depending on what you bring to the film, but every episode does a sterling job of presenting a situation and dilemma that will almost certainly get you thinking and wondering what you would do, even if there are no real right or wrong answers. Having said that, you don't even need to watch them all (1 and 5 are generally considered the best episodes), or in order, but seeing it in its entirety has the most impact and everyone should find something in the mix of religion, romance, tragedy, comedy, politics and philosophy to interest them. Because it's ultimately a film about you, me, us, them, everybody.

I don't trust you. What do others think?  Critics adore it for its scope, ambition and composed cinematic style. More notably, though, the general movie-going public were willing to see past the subtitles, the grim setting and the art-house nature of the film for what it really was; a load of really interesting story-telling. Which is what good cinema is all about.

Anything else I should know? In almost every episode an unidentified man is shown silently watching events unfold. Who is he? God? Satan? An angel? Or just a bloke? Up to you to decide.

What does the Fonz think? Thou shalt not pass up a chance to watch this.





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