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Double Lives, Second Chances - The Cinema of Krzysztof Kieslowski
by Annette Insdorf
Miramax Books, January 2002


Written by one of the world's leading Kieslowski scholars, this is the first monograph written in English to focus on the work of the late Polish filmmaker.

“Perceptive, empathetic, enigmatic, Krzysztof Kieslowski was perhaps the greatest filmmaker of our time, and in Annette Insdorf – who knew him, translated for him and thoroughly understands his work – he has been rewarded with a writer who couldn’t be better suited to do this first English language book on his work.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

“Annette Insdorf is very likely the American who best knew Kieslowski – both the work and the man. Double Lives, Second Chances is a guidebook to both, written by the most invigorating kind of critic: an informed person”. – Stuart Klawans, The Nation

“Her study charts Kieslowski's life as a documentarist, television director, and political activist. She begins by introducing readers to his early projects after graduating from the Lodz Film School […] Sympathetic yet critical, intelligent yet accessible, this volume belongs in every research library supporting film studies”. – Neal Baker, Library Journal

“Annette Insdorf has given us a lucid analysis of a very subtle, mysterious, and metaphysical artist of the cinema. Her admirably comprehensive study of the haunted and haunting cinema of Krzysztof Kieslowski is the next best thing to seeing the movies themselves”. – Andrew Sarris

A professor in the Graduate Film Division of the School of the Arts, as well as Director of Undergraduate Film Studies, Annette Insdorf is the author of two highly regarded studies, Francois Truffaut and Indelible Shadows: Film and the Holocaust, and she writes frequently for The New York Times. Her work as a film scholar has resulted in her recent promotion from the rank of Chevalier (knight) to an Officier dans l'ordre des arts et des lettres by the French Ministry of Culture.

Insdorf first met Kieslowski in 1980 when she was asked to translate for the director at the New York Film Festival; they developed both a working and personal relationship until Kieslowski’s untimely death in 1996 at the age of 54. She has screened Kieslowski’s films in her classes for the last years and says there is nothing more gratifying than watching her students respond to his work. She claims that something about Kieslowski’s films inspires their highest caliber writing. Which is why she could not resist quoting some of them in her monograph.

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