Close Up

3 - 30 April 2018: Close-Up on Krzysztof Kieślowski


“A filmmaker preoccupied with similarities and paradoxes, Krzysztof Kieślowski’s own career seems to have slowly inverted over the years from one centered on political realities to one of effervescent abstraction. Upon closer examination, however, both ends of his career focus on human individuals struggling to reconcile daily life with its cultural myths – be they Communist propaganda, Biblical proverbs, or French revolutionary slogans. If the people and characters of his films are rarely explicitly aware of their ideological projects, the viewers often are, through Kieślowski’s considerable filmmaking savvy and marketing conceits. A powerful storyteller, Kieślowski undermined the ordered world of his documentary descriptions and high-concept anthologies with the complex, often disillusioning lives of his central protagonists – a dialectical portrait of life oscillating between pessimistic deconstruction and an affection for human resilience.” – Senses of Cinema

Krzysztof Kieślowski
1988 | 572 min | Colour | Digital
Polish with English subtitles

This masterwork by Krzysztof Kieślowski is one of the twentieth century’s greatest achievements in visual storytelling. Originally made for Polish television, Dekalog focuses on the residents of a housing complex in late-Communist Poland, whose lives become subtly intertwined as they face emotional dilemmas that are at once deeply personal and universally human. Its ten hour-long films, drawing from the Ten Commandments for thematic inspiration and an overarching structure, grapple deftly with complex moral and existential questions concerning life, death, love, hate, truth, and the passage of time. Shot by nine different cinematographers, with stirring music by Zbigniew Preisner and compelling performances from established and unknown actors alike, Dekalog arrestingly explores the unknowable forces that shape our lives. read more

The Double Life of Véronique
Krzysztof Kieślowski
1991 | 97 min | Colour | Digital
Polish & French with English subtitles

Krzysztof Kieślowski’s international breakthrough remains one of his most beloved films, a ravishing, mysterious rumination on identity, love, and human intuition. Irène Jacob is incandescent as both Weronika, a Polish choir soprano, and her double, Véronique, a French music teacher. Though unknown to each other, the two women share an enigmatic, emotional bond, which Kieślowski details in gorgeous reflections, colours, and movements. Aided by Sławomir Idziak’s shimmering cinematography and Zbigniew Preisner’s haunting, operatic score, Kieślowski creates one of cinema’s most purely metaphysical works. The Double Life of Véronique is an unforgettable symphony of feeling. read more

Three Colours: Blue
Krzysztof Kieślowski
1993 | 98 min | Colour | Digital
French with English subtitles

In the devastating first film of the Three Colours trilogy, Juliette Binoche gives a tour de force performance as Julie, a woman reeling from the tragic death of her husband and young daughter. But Blue is more than just a blistering study of grief; it’s also a tale of liberation, as Julie attempts to free herself from the past while confronting truths about the life of her late husband, a composer. Shot in sapphire tones by Sławomir Idziak, and set to an extraordinary operatic score by Zbigniew Preisner, Blue is an overwhelming sensory experience. read more

Three Colours: White
Krzysztof Kieślowski
1994 | 91 min | Colour | Digital
French & Polish with English subtitles

The most playful and also the grittiest of Kieślowski’s Three Colours films follows the adventures of Karol Karol (Zbigniew Zamachowski), a Polish immigrant living in France. The hapless hairdresser opts to leave Paris for his native Warsaw when his wife (Julie Delpy) sues him for divorce (her reason: their marriage was never consummated) and then frames him for arson after setting her own salon ablaze. White, which goes on to chronicle Karol Karol’s elaborate revenge plot, manages to be both a ticklish dark comedy about the economic inequalities of Eastern and Western Europe and a sublime reverie about twisted love. read more

Three Colours: Red
Krzysztof Kieślowski
1994 | 99 min | Colour | Digital
French with English subtitles

Krzysztof Kieślowski closes his Three Colours trilogy in grand fashion, with an incandescent meditation on fate and chance, starring Irène Jacob as a sweet-souled yet sombre runway model in Geneva whose life dramatically intersects with that of a bitter retired judge, played by Jean‑Louis Trintignant. Meanwhile, just down the street, a seemingly unrelated story of jealousy and betrayal unfolds. Red is an intimate look at forged connections and a splendid final statement from a remarkable filmmaker at the height of his powers. read more