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The Cinema of Krzysztof Kieslowski: Variations on Destiny and Chance
by Marek Haltof
Wallflower Press, May 2004


Marek Haltof provides a comprehensive study of Kieslowski's cinema, from his early documentaries and student films to television projects and award-winning features.

“Haltof brings to his consideration of Kieslowski – certainly, with Krzysztof Zanussi, a leading contender for the status of most important Polish filmmaker after Wajda – the same richly detailed contextual framework that he brought to his fine, compact study, Polish National Cinema, indisputably the best-informed historical survey of Polish films and filmmakers produced in English to date. […] Coupled with a first-rate bibliography of Polish and Western sources, and a complete filmography, Haltof’s brief account of Kieslowski’s influence on other filmmakers […] makes this well-written compact work a lasting contribution to the critical history of Polish – and more generally, pan-European – art cinema." -  Stuart Liebman, Queens College and CUNY Graduate Center, from The Polish Review, vol.L,no.4, 2005

“Haltof succeeds in placing Kieslowski’s documentary films within the context of other leading Polish documentary filmmakers of the 1960s, who were united in their efforts to overthrow the tenets of socialist realism in favor of documenting the non-idealized, unrepresented quotidian world of ordinary Poles. Haltof convincingly relates Kieslowski’s early feature films in the 1970s and early 1980s to the “Cinema of Moral Concern” (or, as Haltof prefers to call it, the “Cinema of Distrust”), in which leading Polish filmmakers unsparingly explored the dark underside of communism and explicitly denounced media manipulation, official corruption, economic failure, social disintegration, lack of personal and professional integrity, and the worn-out myths and shabby results of communist ideology and practice. …. He offers, in fact, fascinating glimpses into the Polish critical reception of Kieslowski’s later films, which departed significantly from the more realistic, politically-oriented films he had made in Poland.” - Daniel Goulding, Slavic Review

“Immerses Kieslowski in Polish contexts, cinematic and otherwise, evaluating each film through a uniquely thorough familiarity with Polish and eastern European cinema. Haltof works through an enormous amount of Polish film criticism, all of which will be new and interesting to most English-speaking readers. … Highly recommended.’ - Choice

'An extremely efficient, solid and reliable survey.' - Paul Coates, University of Aberdeen

Polish-born Marek Haltof is Associate Professor in film at Northern Michigan University in Marquette. He began his career as a cineaste and film scholar/critic during his country’s upheavals in the late 1970s that led to the Solidarity movement. In the 1990s he left Poland to continue his academic career in film studies in Canada and the United States. He is the author of several books in English and Polish, including Peter Weir: When Cultures Collide (1996) and Polish National Cinema (2002).

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