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Documentaries & Short Films by Krzysztof Kieslowski

The Office / Urzad
1966, Documentary (School Etude)
35 mm, black & white, 5 min 5 sec
Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski
Screenplay: Krzysztof Kieslowski
Cinematography: Lechoslaw Trzesowski
Production Company: Lodz Film School, Poland

A very interesting attempt to go beyond imposed filmic and social schemas. Shot with a hidden camera at the counter of the (state-owned) Social Security office, this satire on bureaucracy and clerical soullessness is right on target. A queue forms in front of the counter window and the clerk repeats the question: “What have you done in your lifetime?” Image and original sound have an equal dramaturgical function.

The Tram / Tramwaj
1966, Short (School Etude)
35 mm, black & white, 5 min
Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski
Screenplay: Krzysztof Kieslowski
Cinematography: Zdzislaw Kaczmarek
Production Company: Lodz Film School, Poland
Cast: Jerzy Braszka, Maria Janiec

Night. A boy runs and jumps on a tram. There are very few passengers: a worker on his way to work, a pretty girl. The boy, attracted to the girl, tries to make her laugh, then watches her fall asleep. He gets off at his stop, but then has second thoughts…

Concert of Requests / Koncert zyczen
1967, Short (School Etude)
35 mm, black & white, 16 min
Director: Krzysztof Kieslowskiowski
Cinematography: Lechosl
Screenplay: Krzysztof Kieslaw Trzesowski
Production Company: Lodz Film School, Poland
Cast: Ewa Konarska, Jerzy Fedorowicz,
Waldemar Korzeniowski, Roman Talarczyk,
Ryszard Dembinski, Andrzej Titkow

A coach full of rowdy youths stops by a lake. They drink, play football, generally fool around. One of the youths runs after the ball and sees a couple among the bushes. He stares, entranced by the girl, but the coach driver sounds his horn; the boy must go. A confrontation between the young couple and the coach driver is resolved, leaving the boy with his football and a taste of longing. Film student Kieslowski shows a promising grasp of the medium.

From the City of Lodz / Z miasta Lodzi
1969, Documentary (Reportage)
35 mm, black & white, 18 min
Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski
Cinematography: Janusz Kreczmanski,          
Piotr Kwiatkowski, Stanislaw Niedbalski
Production Company: WFD
(Documentary Film Studio), Warsaw, Poland
Cast: Cezary Juszynski

"A portrait of a town where some people work, others roam around in search of Lord knows what... A town which is full of eccentricities, all sorts of absurd statues and various contrasts... full of ruins, hovels, recesses." (Krzysztof Kieslowski). Kieslowski’s diploma film: impressions of a city dominated by the textile industry, a town of former glory as an industrial center that now looks like any other Communist city. Optimistic commentary is juxtaposed with images of buildings falling apart. Yet behind grayness of the buildings Kieslowski’s camera captures wonderful details and unexpected flashes of creativity.

I Was a Soldier / Bylem Zolnierzem
1970, Documentary
35 mm, black & white, 16 min
Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski
Screenplay: Krzysztof Kieslowski, Ryszard Zgorecki
Cinematography: Stanislaw Niedbalski
Production Company: “Czolowka” Film Studio, Warsaw, Poland

"There were three film studios in Warsaw: Documentary Film Studio (WFD), Polish TV, and Czolowka. In Czolowka, documentaries or films for the military were made, all sorts of commissions. For example, about a cannon, or a squadron, or about the organization of life in a military unit. To be honest, I have no idea what was produced there. I made one quite nice film there, a documentary, but not commissioned. It was called "I Was a Soldier". It spoke of soldiers who had lost their sight in the Second World War. (...) The soldiers just sit there, in front of the camera, throughout the film and talk. I asked them what they dreamt about at night, and that was the subject of this film." (Krzysztof Kieslowski). One suspects the directors’ sense of irony was gratified by the awards given to the film that concludes with an anti-war message:

1971 Krakow (Polish Festival of Short Films) -"Golden Kord", an award of the weekly Polish Soldier „for a film showing the patriotic, progressive content of the military fight for national and social liberation."
1971 Award of the Ministry of National Defense

Factory / Fabryka
1970, Documentary (Reportage)
35 mm, black & white, 18 min
Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski
Assistant Director: Marcel Lozinski
Cinematography: Stanislaw Niedbalski, Jacek Tworek
Production Company: WFD (Documentary Film Studio), Warsaw, Poland

A working day in the Ursus tractor factory. Shots of workers are contrasted with those of a management board meeting. The factory cannot meet its production quota because there is a shortage of equipment, parts, and so on. Papers are sent out, licenses are applied for, numerous meetings held, but there seems to be no way out of the vicious circle of misunderstandings and bureaucracy - the left hand doesn't know what the right is doing. As one of the board members says: “the bureaucracy in this country hampers any solution.” Yet the workers still have to meet their quota. A bitter image of the functioning of an industrial enterprise within a socialist economy, such criticism was daring while the film was being made in 1970, but following the bloody suppression of strikes in  Gdansk that December, it became officially praiseworthy during the temporary political thaw that followed:

Award: 1971 Krakow (Polish Festival of Short Films) – "Iron Boat" Award of Glos Robotniczy [Workers’ Voice] for the film most engaged in contemporary social issues.

Before the Rally / Przed Rajdem
1971, Documentary (Reportage)
35 mm, black & white, 14 min
Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski
Cinematography: Piotr Kwiatkowski, Jacek Petrycki
Production Company: WFD (Documentary Film Studio), Warsaw, Poland
Featuring: Krzysztof Komornicki

An account of the  ten days of preparation  of the leading Polish racing car driver Krzysztof Komornicki for the 1971 Monte Carlo rally, as he battles with the technical shortcomings of the Polish Fiat 125. He does not finish the race. An allegory of the country’s industrial and economic problems.

Refrain / Refren
1972, Documentary (Reportage)
35 mm, black and white, 9 min
Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski
Cinematography: Witold Stok
Production Company: WFD (Documentary Film Studio), Warsaw, Poland

Documentary about a paranoid bureaucracy reaching a man even after his death and intruding upon funerals. Grief and emotions are turned into numbers and a pile of paperwork.

Between Wroclaw and Zielona Gora / Miedzy Wroclawiem a Zielona Gora
1972, Documentary (reportage)
35 mm, color, 11 min
Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski
Cinematography: Jacek Petrycki
Production Company: WFD (Documentary Film Studio), Warsaw, Poland, commissioned by Lubin Copper Mine, Poland

Workers and working life were subjects of special importance to Kieslowski, and often in his early documentaries as well as in his features he focused on them. Two of his films were commissioned by the copper mine. This reportage film about the Lubin copper mine focuses on the hopes of a miner and his notions of success. Even here one can find the Kieslowski touch.

The Principles of Safety and Hygiene in a Copper Mine / Podstawy BHP w Kopalni Miedzi
1972, Instructional documentary
35 mm, color, 20 min 52 sec
Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski
Screenplay: Krzysztof Kieslowski
Cinematography: Jacek Petrycki
Production Company: WFD (Documentary Film Studio), Warsaw, Poland, commissioned by Lubin Copper Mine, Poland

Commissioned instructional documentary film about the conditions of safety and hygiene of work in the Lubin Copper Mine. The artist brought his craftsmanship to bear even in this kind of occasional bread-and-butter work. This was also a useful occasion for sharpening a documentary maker’s eye…

Workers 1971: Nothing About Us Without Us / Robotnicy 1971: Nic o nas bez nas
1972, Documentary
16 mm, black & white, 47 min
Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski, Tomasz Zygadlo
Cinematography: Witold Stok, Stanislaw Mroziuk, Jacek Petrycki
Production Company: WFD (Documentary Film Studio) Warsaw, Poland

Filmed after the strikes of December 1970 (in which workers were killed), the downfall of the Communist Party First Secretary Gomulka, and the assumption of power by Edward Gierek promising a “new Poland”, the film "was intended to portray the workers' state of mind in 1971. We tried to draw a broad picture showing that the class which, theoretically at least, was said to be the ruling class, had somewhat different views from those which were printed on the front page of Trybuna Ludu. [The People’s Tribune]. […] And it seemed good to show that this class thinks […]" (Krzysztof Kieslowski). The original version of the film was not publicly shown in Poland. The film was later cut and re-edited – despite the author’s disagreement – by Polish Television and shown, without credits, as "Gospodarze" (The Masters).

Bricklayer / Murarz
1973, released 1981, Documentary
35 mm, color, 18 min
Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski
Cinematography: Witold Stok
Production Company: WFD (Documentary Film Studio), Warsaw, Poland
Featuring: Józef Malesa, bricklayer

Documentary about a bricklayer who, during the Stalinist era in the mid 1950s, was encouraged by the Party to further the Communist cause by becoming an exemplary worker (Stakhanovite). In flashbacks from scenes of his participation in a 1970s May Day parade, he recalls how, as a young activist, he was promoted to an office job. “I became a jack-in-the-office, instead of an activist... I got a desk job and gasped for breath, I had to let in fresh air through the window... And then came the year 1956, and everything tumbled down all of a sudden. It was a little painful. The question was: What now? And in 1956 I asked them to relieve me and send me back to my job in production. I returned to where I had come from.” An idealistic youth, exploited by ruthless ideology - in a film of subtle political nuances.

Underground Passage / Przejscie Podziemne
1973, premiere: 1974 TV short drama
35 mm, black & white, 30 min
Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski
Screenplay: Ireneusz Iredynski, Krzysztof Kieslowski
Cinematography: Slawomir Idziak
Production Company: „Tor” Film Studio, Warsaw; Polish Television
Cast: Teresa Budzisz-Krzyzanowska (Lena), Andrzej Seweryn (Michal), Anna Jaraczowna, Zygmunt Maciejewski, Jan Orsza-Lukaszewicz, Janusz Skalski, Wojciech Wiszniewski

Despite its documentary look, this short TV drama dealing with a crisis of values is in fact one of Kieslowski’s earliest narrative films.  A woman has left her husband and her teaching job in a small town and now works in  Warsaw as a window dresser in a pedestrian underpass. Her husband finds her and tries to re-tie the thread that once linked them. But the chasm between them is underscored by the constant interruptions of their conversation. Kieslowski’s documentary experience is apparent in his approach to hand-held camerawork, editing, and narration.

First Love / Pierwsza Milosc
1974, TV documentary
16 mm, color, 52 min 20 sec
Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski
Cinematography: Jacek Petrycki
Production Company: WFD (Documentary Film Studio), Warsaw
Sponsored by: Polish Television

A deeply humanist and loving document of a naïve young couple coping with the social challenges to their unplanned pregnancy. Though prior arrangements and manipulations are common in the filming of most documentaries, Kieslowski acknowledges that this one is a “directed” documentary, in the sense that he found certain provocations logistically necessary in order to make this one film of his that attempts to realize his theory that each person’s life is a story that can be filmed directly from life. The camera follows a real girl and boy, still in school at 17 and 18, as they first consider and then reject the option of an abortion with potential complications, and then have to deal with attitudes at home and at school, and the ever-mounting bureaucratic hurdles to marriage, lodging, and income. Though practical necessity forced Kieslowski to help arrange certain things that would have happened anyway, like the visit of the policeman who threatens eviction, the human responses are authentic and spontaneous, and Kieslowski captures the way this “first love” was strengthened by the very barriers it faced.  (In 2000 his assistant director on this film, Krzysztof Wierzbicki, brought to completion the late Kieslowski’s unfinished sequel on the young couple and its next generation, called Horoskop.)

“Graduating from [film] school I wrote a work entitled “Reality and Documentary Film”. I defended the thesis that it is possible to imagine the life of any man as a story. Why think up plots when they exist in life? One only needs to photograph them. Such a title I thought of for myself. So then I tried to make a few films like this. Out of several ideas I only managed to realize one: “First Love”. I actually think it’s not a bad film. In fact there were a lot of manipulations in the film, and even provocations. Otherwise it wouldn’t have been possible to make such a film. It is simply unthinkable to keep the film crew ready 24 hours a day. It took me about 8 months to make the film. I suppose shooting took no more than 30-40 days. And in these 30-40 days I had to provoke things – which means manipulate or arrange those situations in which the protagonists would have found themselves anyway – just not on that particular day or at that very hour [...] I wanted them to read one of the books titled „Young Mother” or „How the Fetus Develops”, and so of course it was I who brought them a copy. Then I waited until they read it and could discuss it. They had such a tiny room at their grandmother’s. They decided they would paint it purple. OK, let them paint it purple. I came to shoot them painting. I let the policeman in who came with a complaint that they were not officially registered to live there, they were occupying the apartment illegally, and that in fact they could be thrown out immediately. It was clearly a provocation. [...] There were many such provocations. There were many of them that simply arose in the course of events. If there’s to be a wedding, let’s have a wedding. We were there with the camera. A birth scene would be our birth scene. We were there with the camera. [...] I don’t think I ever placed them in an imagined situation. They wanted an apartment – so they went to the apartment-block cooperative. So of course I had to go there ahead of time with the camera, but it was their cooperative, and they were applying for a real apartment, not a fictional one. They didn’t have a dialogue list. [...] We were with that couple for a long time, almost a year. We met them when the girl, Jadzia, was, I think, in the fourth month of pregnancy. And we were with them until their baby was 6-8 weeks old.” (Krzysztof Kieslowski)

1974 Krakow (Polish Festival of Short Films) - Grand Prix "Golden Lajkonik”
1974 Krakow (International Festival of Short Films) – Special Award of the President of the Radio and Television Committee - "Golden Dragon"

 X-Ray / Przeswietlenie
1974, Documentary
35 mm, color, 12 min
Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski
Cinematography: Jacek Petrycki
Production Company: WFD (Documentary Film Studio), Warsaw, Poland

Patients suffering from tuberculosis speak of their fears and of their wish to return to a normal life. An analysis of the psychology of the ill. In a place where they seem to lack nothing, there emerges a longing for the drudgery of everyday life away from the sanatorium. A longing for work, the dirty city, long lines at the food stores. Kieslowski’s inevitable touch of subtle irony in what appears to be a straightforward documentary.

Curriculum Vitae / Zyciorys
1975, Drama documentary
35 mm, black & white, 45 min
Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski
Screenplay: Janusz Fastyn, Krzysztof Kieslowski
Screenplay - idea: Maciej Malicki
Cinematography: Jacek Petrycki, Tadeusz Rusinek
Production Company: WFD (Documentary Film Studio), Warsaw, Poland

A Party Control Committee cross-examines a Party member threatened with expulsion from the Party for inappropriate conduct. This film is a fascinating expansion upon the strategies Kieslowski had to resort to in “First Love”, where manipulations of little things that were to happen anyway elicited emotionally authentic responses from the young couple. Here the “provocation” is an accused whose life story is a total fiction (although the man who plays him brings a certain feel of authenticity because he had experienced something similar in his own life). But that is presumably the very reason permission was given to film the normally closed meeting: it was about a fiction. As the meeting progresses, the Control Committee gets so caught up in the “facts” of the case that it brings its accustomed ardor to its inquisitorial treatment of the accused. While denied access to meetings of the Party’s political bureau, Kieslowski thus gets from the unwitting Control Committee a devastating, unrehearsed look at authentic attitudes behind Party control over its members’ lives

“Curriculum Vitae was a classical case of merging feature with documentary, something I was immensely interested in at that time. It’s like Personnel [a feature-length television film], which I also made in 1975, and which is a classic example of merging staged actions – delicate, tiny, enigmatic actions – with a documentary record of the actual real-life reactions of people’s minds, faces, hands, actions.(...) The most interesting thing one could do in those times would be to enter a meeting of the Political Bureau [of the Party] and make a film about it. In the Party real decisions were taken on what this country was to look like. How one would live here and how life would unfold. I would never have been allowed to enter a meeting of the Political Bureau. So I made a film on the Party Control Committee. […] Everything that happens on the part of the Party Control Committee in Curriculum Vitae, is real. It was a real Party Control Committee. Nobody there had been chosen [for the film]. […] I wanted to have this perfect opportunity to show how this body monitors the lives of Party members, how it decides what a man can do and must not do. How it actually decides how long it should take one to boil an egg in the morning. Does the man have a right to boil it for three minutes? The Committee intrudes upon the most intimate, private spheres of one’s life. Whatever has to do with the Party Control Committee in this film is true. But what the protagonist brings to it, the man they are judging, is a fiction.” (Krzysztof Kieslowski)

1975 Krakow (Polish Festival of Short Films) - "Bronze Lajkonik"
1975 “Warsaw Mermaid” (Award of the SDP Film Critics Club) given at the Polish Festival of Short Films in Krakow

Slate / Klaps
1976, Documentary
35 mm, color, 5 min. 5 sec
Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski
Cinematography: Slawomir Idziak
Production Company: WFD (Documentary Film Studio), Warsaw, Poland
Cast: Franciszek Pieczka, Mariusz Dmochowski, Jerzy Stuhr, Michal Tarkowski, Jan Skotnicki, H. Winiarska, Joanna Orzeszkowska, A. Skupien, Stanislaw Igar


A short impression, a compilation of out-takes from “The Scar” that were not used in the final cut of that feature film.

Hospital / Szpital
1977, Documentary (Reportage)
35 mm, black & white, 21 min
Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski
Cinematography: Jacek Petrycki
Production Company: WFD (Documentary Film Studio), Warsaw, Poland

The camera follows orthopedic surgeons on a 32-hour shift. Instruments fall apart in their hands, the electrical current keeps breaking, there are shortages of the most basic materials, but the doctors persevere hour after hour. Kieslowski is as much impressed by the dedication, stamina, compassion, and humor of the surgeons as he is by the crumbling environment of 1970s Poland within which they have to work

"In Hospital we had a classic situation - like a primer on documentary filmmaking – in which one has to try to get well acquainted with the subject and the people about whom one will speak, in order to be able to photograph what’s meaningful. (...) I had planned it to be a film on something else, not about doctors. It was meant to be a film about the fact that in all the mess surrounding us, in all the dirt, ineptness, and human impotence, in which nothing can be fully accomplished, there are still a number of people who achieve a real sense of accomplishment. I looked for a long time among different professions. (...) In the end I thought that maybe it should be doctors. We started to look among doctors, among surgeons, and at last I hit upon a particular hospital. There really was an exceptionally sympathetic and human atmosphere in this one. (...) The doctors were so open and we became such friends that they behaved while we were there as though we were not there. That’s why documentaries take so long to make, something people don’t realize. And particularly today’s TV reporters do not know about it. They come, they put the mike under someone’s nose, and make him answer some question. Some answers are wiser and some are stupid, but there is no real truth in any of them”. (Krzysztof Kieslowski)

1977 “Warsaw Mermaid” (Award of the SDP Film Critics Club) given at the Polish Festival of Short Films in Krakow
1977 Krakow (International Festival of Short Films) - Grand Prix "Golden Dragon"

From a Night Porter's Point of View / Z Punktu Widzenia Nocnego Portiera
1977, Documentary
35 mm, color, 16 min 5 sec
Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski
Cinematography: Witold Stok
Music: Wojciech Kilar (music from the film „The Quarterly Balance” by Krzysztof Zanussi)
Musical arrangement: Michal Zarnecki
Production Company: WFD (Documentary Film Studio), Warsaw, Poland
Featuring: Marian Osuch

Portrait of a factory porter, a fanatic of strict discipline, a man of almost fascist views, whoextends his power even into his personal life as he tries to totally control everybody and everything in the belief that rules are more important than people... “That means that when a man doesn't obey the rules,” he says, “you could say he's a goner... Children also have to conform to the rules, and adults who live on this earth, for whom this beautiful world has been created. I reckon you've got to have capital punishment ... Simply hang him [the culprit]. Publicly. Tens, hundreds of people would see it.”

“The porter saw this film and he liked it. Later my film won at the festival in Krakow, and later it was shown as a short at “Confrontations” [yearly show of ten best international productions, only held at select, ambitious theaters]. It in fact had a good audience, but of course a very special one - the audience that attends Confrontations. It has never been shown in any theatres in normal distribution. But in 1980 they absolutely wanted to show it on TV. (...)This porter wasn’t a bad man. He in fact really thought that it would be good to hang someone in public, because then people would be fearful and stop committing crimes. We know this point of view from history, and he was its representative. It is a result of his maybe not very high intellectual level, his rather simplistic approach to life, and from the environment in which he was brought up. I don’t think he is a bad man. I could hand him a subject: „What do you think of the death penalty?” or: „What is your approach towards animals? Do you like animals?" So he says: “Sir, animals I like. Once when we were eating, my son let out the parrot and it fell into my soup. But I like the critters.” And so on. I can ask about it, but I don’t write his dialogue for him. How in the world could I think it up? I knew whom I was looking for. I ordered from Dziob [“Prow” – Krzysztof Wierzbicki, a close collaborator of Kieslowski, often his assistant director] a concrete person. Dziob looked for him for years. For many years I had been reading diaries published in Poland by Ludowa Spoldzielnia Wydawnicza [People’s Publishing Cooperative], which no one was then interested in. Incredibly interesting sociologically. It was called A Month from My Life, or The Most Important Day in My Life, or Diaries of Women, or Diaries of Workers, Twenty Years on the Farm, Diaries of Peasants. A lot of it was published, and in one of these books I found the diary of just such a porter: a man who, simply speaking, has anti-human – or let’s say, fascist – views, and I thought one should make a film about him. It happened to be a porter at a factory, too. I met him, but he turned out to be absolutely unfilmable. He had thousands of defects and impediments, so that making a film on him was impossible. But since I had already thought of it and written such a scenario, and the [Documentary Film] Studio had agreed to it, Dziob simply started to look for such a man. He went through more than 50 factories in Warsaw. He met 150 porters, he showed me 10, and we chose this one. (...) Tolo [Witold Stok, the cameraman] and I made a point of choosing Orwo film, so that the deformation of colors characteristic of this East German film stock starts to function as a sort of caricature of the world. The porter is a caricature of humanity, and we wanted the color to underscore even more the caricature-like world that surrounded him. I think it was Tolo who thought up the idea of using Orwo. Rather ingenious”. (Krzysztof Kieslowski)

1979 Krakow (Polish Festival of Short Films) - Grand Prix "Golden Lajkonik"
1979 Krakow (International Festival of Short Films) – Award of International Federation of Film Press FIPRESCI for the "particularly ethical values and social tendencies of the film, as well as for interesting artistic solutions"
1979 Lille (International Short & Documentary Film Festival) - Jury Award
1979 Lyon (International Documentary Film Festival) - "Silver Sesterce"

Seven Women of Different Ages / Siedem Kobiet w Roznym Wieku
1978, Documentary
35 mm, black & white, 15 min
Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski
Assistant Director: Krzysztof Wierzbicki
Cinematography: Witold Stok
Production Company: WFD (Documentary Film Studio), Warsaw, Poland

Subtle portraits of seven women: episodes in which each day of the week shows a ballerina of classical dance at work or in rehearsal; but the ages of the dancers vary from the smallest child taking her first steps in ballet to the eldest ballerina who is now a ballet teacher.

Award: 1979 Krakow (Polish Festival of Short Films) – Golden Lajkonik

Talking Heads / Gadajace Glowy
1980, Documentary
35 mm, black & white, 14 min
Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski
Assistant Directors: Krzysztof Wierzbicki, Grzegorz Eberhardt
Cinematography: Jacek Petrycki,
Production Company: WFD (Documentary Film Studio), Warsaw, Poland

It is 1979. Krzysztof Kieslowski runs a sort of sociological poll. Seventy-nine Poles, aged seven to 100, answer three questions: When were you born? What are you? What would you like most? They want similar values: freedom, justice, democracy. We watch people thinking honestly, “latching on to something Good”, as one of the persons in the film says. From those registered on tape, Kieslowski chooses 44 people and puts them in chronological order: from a one-year-old who can’t speak yet, to a 100-year-old woman who can’t hear the question, but repeats several times that she’d like to live longer. He shows a whole gallery of talking heads – kids, pupils from primary and secondary schools, students, a full-time activist with a youth organization, an engineer on the threshold of his professional career, an electrician, a nurse, a priest, a history teacher, a mother of two, a writer, a sociologist, a sculptor, a taxi driver, retired people, a woman who thinks that above all she is Catholic, and a chemical engineer who acknowledges questions with: "these days I drink, everything’s fine.” On the level of image nothing in particular is happening. Simple heads come one after another, under which there is information about the date of birth. Yet this gallery fascinates, for two reasons: the viewer observes how people’s dreams change with age. At the beginning a funny two-year-old boy wants to be car – a Syrenka, and at the end, an almost one-hundred-year-old woman, having recently lost her husband, doesn’t want anything more. But this is only seemingly a mere enumeration of personal wishes. People’s dreams compose an image of their reality, as they indirectly speak of what it lacks, of what irritates them, of what they don’t agree with. They say: I would like the lack of respect to disappear; I’d like people to do something for others, not just for themselves; I wish for a freedom that doesn’t favor the strongest; I wish that we could live courageously; that all good people would latch onto the Good; that people would not fear others; that everyone could freely decide upon his fate; that there were less elbows and backs, and more heart and mind; I want a real and not just a verbal introduction of two notions: democracy and tolerance; better justice; I want to live under conditions of democracy and with a feeling of safety; to live in a real world that isn’t all fiction and pretense... Krzysztof Kieslowski, with extremely modest filmic means, has created a sort of collective portrait of the Pole – conscious of his identity and the place he lives in, careful observer of a reality that is hard to accept, ardently yearning for change, and ripe for revolt. The director finished his film in 1979 but the chance to reach an audience only came with the events of August 1980.

For this documentary he was awarded an Honorable Mention at the International Film Festival in Oberhausen in 1981.

(Two „sequels” to „Talking Heads” were made following the same pattern, one in 1997, called „Questionnaire”, by Warsaw University students in a film production workshop and the other in 2004, called “Talking Heads 2”, by Kieslowski’s Assistant Director, Krzysztof Wierzbicki.)

Railway Station / Dworzec
1980, Documentary
35 mm, black & white, 13 min
Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski
Wspólpraca realizatorska: Krzysztof Wierzbicki
Cinematography: Witold Stok
Music: Michal Zarnecki
Production Company: WFD (Documentary Film Studio), Warsaw, Poland

“Railway Station” is widely considered one of Kieslowski’s finest documentaries. “The contrast between the real and the propaganda image of Warsaw’s main railroad station, a flagship investment of the Gierek decade:  ‘Central Station’. […] There are a few shots of people sleeping, or waiting for someone, for something. It’s about them. Not individualized in this case, but that’s not important. Because there were other portraits we were making this film for. We spent about ten nights at this railway station trying to photograph "lost" people. The metaphor of voyeurism was an idea that I think only came to mind later on. I don’t remember whether it was in the screenplay. We just thought that the dramaturgical material in this film was extremely woolly. The film’s action does not really develop, because there is no way for it to develop, and that’s why we put in an observer: someone who seems to know everything about these people. In fact he knows nothing, but it seems to him that he does know something. The film is not about him. During the filming I occasionally understood that I was in a place I didn’t want to be in at all. We were shooting at the railway station at night. Among other things, we were trying to observe with a hidden camera the funny reactions of people - not completely hidden, as we only covered it a little with our backs or put it far away and used a long lens – […] but we managed to shoot a few funny portraits." (Krzysztof Kieslowski)

Documentary Film on Krzysztof Kieslowski:
Krzysztof Kieslowski: I’m So-So...
1995, Denmark, Documentary (biographical)
Color, 55 min
Director: Krzysztof Wierzbicki
Screenplay: Krzysztof Wierzbicki
Cameraman: Jacek Petrycki
Music: Zbigniew Preisner (music from „Decalogue”)
Production Company: Kulturmode Film
Co-production Company: National Film Board of Denmark, Danish Broadcasting Corp., Denmark
Featuring: Krzysztof Kieslowski, Andrzej Wiernikowski (doctor), Jacek Lipinski (graphologist), Wojciech Kemkel (seer), Elzbieta Nasielska (psychotherapist), Jan Sikorski (priest)

The film was shot in the village of Poreby (in the house of Jacek Petrycki) in  Poland’s Mazury lake district in May 1995, a year before Krzysztof Kieslowski’s death.

Still Alive - A Film About Krzysztof Kieslowski /  Still Alive - Film o Krzysztofie Kieslowskim
2005, Poland, Documentary
Color, fragments of b/w films, 82 min
Director: Maria Zmarz-Koczanowicz
Screenplay: Stanislaw Zawislinski
Production Company: Es-Media Sp.zo.o, Telewizja Polska, SA

This is a beautifully made and totally engrossing feature-length retrospective portrait of Kieslowski by a former student of his who is now one of  Poland's finest documentary filmmakers.  Maria Zmarz-Koczanowicz gives a lot of attention to the beginnings of Kieslowski’s career: his studies at the Lodz Film School and his first documentary films. The film recounts as fully as possible the artistic path of Kieslowski and the character of the man, presenting a portrait of a fulfilled artist, of a director wholly engaged in the drama of the time of his protagonists. An important aspect of the documentary is how it tries to explain the phenomenon of Kieslowski’s reception in Poland and abroad, as well as an analysis what is the standing of his work today and who is following in his footsteps.

The film is richly illustrated with archival material as well as excerpts from the student, documentary, and feature films of Krzysztof Kieslowski. Zmarz-Koczanowicz uses the late director's own words as well as scraps of memories kept by his friends and colleagues: Wim Wenders, Agnieszka Holland, Slawomir Idziak, Jacek Petrycki, Grazyna Szapolowska, Tadeusz Sobolewski, Irene Jacob, Zbigniew Preisner, Marcin Latallo, Juliette Binoche, Andrzej Titkow, Andreas Veiel, Krzysztof Zanussi, and others. Loved and admired, Kieslowski was a filmmaker's filmmaker: "Cinema is about drudgery. It is about getting up early, about not sleeping at night, about fretting, about rain. This is cinema, this is real cinema. And the moments of satisfaction happen seldom."

Krzysztof Kieslowski: Three Colors  /  Krzysztof Kieslowski : Trzy Kolory
1993, Poland, Documentary
42 min.
Director: Natalia Koryncka-Gruz

An intriguing reportage from the set of Three Colors: White that captures the cast and crew at work on location and offers revealing interviews with Zbigniew Zamachowski as well as Kieslowski and his longstanding co-scriptwriter since No End, Krzysztof Piesiewicz. The result is a fascinating double portrait of the now legendary creative partnership of   Kieslowski and Piesiewicz and their view of the world.