The Master of Cinema


Electoral Member
Mar 28, 2004
Masterpiece Works

What I feel and experience with Sylvian musically is equaled on a visual scale with the cinematic works of Kieslowski. Hollywood, he is not. European cinema still is an art form - not a movie studio formula.

My journey began with the Three Colours Trilogy, featuring Juliette Binoche, Julie Delpy and Irene Jacob.

Hailed by filmgoers as some of the most absorbing, engaging, well-crafted dramas in recent memory.

Blue: Liberty -- Unable to deal emotionally with the loss of her husband and her daughter in a car crash, and wishing to distance herself from the practicalities of the fact that her husband, a famous composer, has left a nation in mourning, Julie (Juliette Binoche) tries to deal with her bereavement by leaving everything and everyone in her life behind her, seeking the most absolute kind of freedom – freedom from the world around her and from the memories in her mind.

Blue is a complex film, by necessity entering into a mind that is trying to shut itself down, however it is also much more optimistic in outlook than it may first appear. External events, the necessity of relating to other people and her own internal creative urges, eventually bring Julie back into the world.

White: Equality -- A quite funny black comedy that sets it apart from the other two films in the trilogy. Karol Karol (Zbigniew Zamachowski) is a Polish hairdresser who is thrown-out by his French wife Dominique (Julie Delpy). Divorced, homeless, penniless and humiliated he is left on the streets with a single suitcase. Returning by unlikely methods to his hometown in Poland, Karol is determined to get back on his feet and win back the wife he is still in love with.

Kieslowski talks about his equanimity in dealing with the bad times in life – the world may be in crisis, but things will get better – it’s part of the cycle of life and in this as in death, which is also a theme of the film, all human beings are equal. That is the simple theme Kieslowski brings to White – the human capacity for resilience in the face of adversity embodied in the unlikely character of Karol Karol.

Red: Fraternity -- Irene Jacob ("The Double Life of Veronique") stars as a young model whose chance meeting with an unusual stranger leads her down a path of intrigue and secrecy. As her knowledge of the man deepens, she discovers an astonishing link between his past and her destiny.

On the surface, it appears simple enough – Irène Jacob is Valentine, a model who, after her car accidentally hits a dog, strikes up an unlikely relationship with its owner, a retired judge (Jean-Louis Trintignant).

Despite their differences, a friendship develops between them and they find they both have something to learn about life and people from each other. If we look deeper however, there are many other levels and meanings that can be drawn from the film, which is awash with Kieslowskian themes of fate, chance, and communication. Certainly one of the director’s most personal films, Red is nonetheless a beautiful, warm and deeply humane film.

Kieslowski’s The Double Life of Veronique was filmed with a filter leaving one to view life not as a sparkling Alice in Wonderland landscape but rather as a less colourful life of reality that deals with the aching longing of finding one’s soulmate - ‘been there.

Decalogue: “This moving ten part series that originally aired in Poland in 1989, and then swept across the rest of Europe in 1990 and '91, really put Kieslowski on the map as a World filmmaker.

He was, of course, an extremely influential filmmaker in Poland, and his "pre-Dekalog" films had a tight band of international fans. But with these ten fifty minute films he broke open the flood gates to his last four films- The Double Life of Veronique, and the Three Colors Trilogy. Which are, in my opinion, among the best films ever made. [mine too]

The ten short features of the Decalogue mirror each one of the ten commandments in real-life situations. Watching these in order is an emotional journey that's tough to explain. The symbolism relating to each of the Commandments is never shoved in the viewers face, and it is never "preachy": indeed it often requires serious thought after watching each piece to realize that Kieslowski has neatly turned each one on its head.

Difficult moral and ethical issues are addressed.

Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain: Doroto visits her dying husband. She is pregnant by another man. She asks the doctor for her husband’s prognosis - considering abortion should he live, choosing life for the fetus if her husband dies. By predicating the fate of the husband, is the doctor determining the life or death of the unborn child?

Thou shalt not steal: Six-year-old Ania brought up by Ewa in the belief that Majka, Ewa’s daughter is her sister, whereas Majka is really her mother. Tired and sadden by the deception and desperate to have Ania love her as a mother, Majka “kidnaps” Ania and runs away from her parents. She will only return home if her mother allows her to bring up her own daughter in the recognition of the true relationship.

Krzysztof Kieslowski - my favorite cinematographer.

Who is yours?

Haggis McBagpipe

Walks on Forum Water
Jun 11, 2004
Victoria, B.C.
The Three Colours Trilogy is fantastic.

And yes, Krzysztof Kieslowski is brilliant.

The one absolutely perfect masterpiece for me is the Icelandic film 'Children of Nature'. It is more of a poem than a movie, an exquisite portrait of humanity. It is slow yet you never feel this. It aches with a beauty and understanding of the human spirit that inspires you to heights of pleasure and moves you to tears. I have seen it at least ten times, and plan to see it many more times.

Vista, what a great thread!

Haggis McBagpipe

Walks on Forum Water
Jun 11, 2004
Victoria, B.C.
vista said:
Haggis it is amazing what gems lie buried beneath the Top 40 selection at the video store isn't it.


Yes, this is so true, and the saddest thing has been the fall of so many independent video stores, for they were the ones most inclined to bring in those perfect gems.