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FEATURE FILMS BY KRZYSZTOF KIESLOWSKI


Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor's Wife (Decalogue 9) / Dekalog 9
1988, Poland, TV film
35 mm, color, 58 min
Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski
Screenplay: Krzysztof Piesiewicz, Krzysztof Kieslowski
Cinematography & Camera Operator: Piotr Sobocinski
Art Director: Halina Dobrowolska
Music: Zbigniew Preisner; Performed by: Lodz Philharmonic Orchestra, Elzbieta Towarnicka (soprano); Conductor: Zdzislaw Szostak
Film excerpt: "Tort" - from a "Lis Leon" series; screenplay: K. Kowalski, K. Chrominski, music: J. Mentel
Production Company: Polish Television
Cast: Ewa Blaszczyk (Hanka), Piotr Machalica (Roman), Artur Barcis (Young Man), Jan Jankowski (Mariusz), Jolanta Pietek-Gorecka (Ola), Katarzyna Piwowarczyk (Ania), Jerzy Trela (Mikolaj), and others.

A heart surgeon not yet 40, Roman learns he is incurably impotent and concludes that his solid marriage is ruined, but his wife loves him no matter what and intends to stay. Roman mentions that she might be reduced to taking a lover, whereupon he becomes obsessively jealous and eventually indeed catches his wife with a young lover. She reassures him it was a release without emotional overtones whatsoever, their love is reaffirmed, and they decide to adopt a child. But first they agree to take a break from each other following the recent upheavals, and she decides to go skiing. Roman discovers that the ex-lover has similar plans, unaware that Hanka has broken off the affair, and is so convinced his wife has betrayed him after all that he decides to commit suicide& Kieslowski questions what it is that really cements a marriage and what therefore really constitutes adultery.

In "Decalogue 9", also sometimes called "A Short Film About Jealousy", Kieslowski's psychological intuition allows him to describe in a believable way yet another life paradoxical situation. Piotr Machalica as Roman and Ewa Blaszczyk as Hanka give a real actors' concert. The story of their characters movingly reflects the Christian understanding of love as a connection of souls above all.



Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor's Goods (Decalogue 10) / Dekalog 10
1989, Poland, TV film (premiere: June 24, 1989)
35 mm, color, 57 min
Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski
Screenplay: Krzysztof Piesiewicz, Krzysztof Kieslowski
Cinematography: Jacek Blawut
Art Director: Halina Dobrowolska
Music: Zbigniew Preisner; Performed by: Lodz Philharmonic Orchestra; Conductor: Zdzislaw Szostak
Song: "Zabijaj, zabijaj", words: K. Kieslowski, music: P. Klatt, performed by Zbigniew Zamachowski and Roze Europy group
Production Company: Polish Television
Cast: Jerzy Stuhr (Jerzy), Zbigniew Zamachowski (Artur), Henryk Bista (Shopkeeper), Olaf Lubaszenko (Tomek), Maciej Stuhr (Piotrek), Jerzy Turek (Filatelist), Anna Gronostaj (Nurse), Henryk Majcherek (Filatelists' President), Elzbieta Panas (Jerzy's Wife), and others.

A man dies leaving an extremely valuable stamp collection to his two sons, Jerzy and Artur. Although they know very little about stamps, when they learn of the collection's value, they get interested in stamp-collecting. Gradually, this interest takes on an absurdly unhealthy intensity. They learn that one very rare stamp is needed to complete a valuable series. To acquire the stamp Jerzy donates his kidney: the man in possession of the stamp is in need of a kidney for his daughter. Returning from hospital, Jerzy and Artur discover what seems like the end of their world, but there is a silver lining.



The Double Life of Veronique / La Double Vie de Veronique / Podwojne Zycie Weroniki
1991, premiere: October 6, 1991, France/Poland/Norway, Feature (psychological drama)
35mm, color, 98 min
Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski
Screenplay: Krzysztof Kieslowski, Krzysztof Piesiewicz
Cinematography: Slawomir ldziak
Art Director: Patrice Mercier, Halina Dobrowolska
Music: Zbigniew Preisner; Performed by: Elzbieta Towarnicka (soprano), Jacek Ostaszewski (flute), The Great Symphony Orchestra of Polish Radio and TV (Katowice), The Choir of the Silesia Philharmonic (Katowice), Conductor: Antoni Wit; Music Piece: "Verso Il Cielo" - Song Two from Dante's "Inferno", music: Zbigniew Preisner
Artistic Director: Krzysztof Zanussi
Producer: Leonardo de la Fuente
Production company: Sideral Productions, Le Studio Canal+
Co-production: "Tor" Film Studio, Warsaw, Poland
Co-production partner: Norsk Film (Norway)
Cast: Irene Jacob (Weronika/Veronique), Aleksander Bardini (Orchestra Conductor), Wladyslaw Kowalski (Weronika's Father), Halina Gryglaszewska (Weronika's Aunt), Kalina Jedrusik (Gaudy Woman); Jerzy Gudejko (Antek), Philippe Volter (Alexandre), Sandrine Dumas (Catherine), Louis Ducreux (Professor), Claude Duneton (Veronique's Father), Lorraine Evanoff (Claude), Guillarme de Tonquedec (Serge), Gilles Gaston- Dreyfus (Jean-Pierre), and others.

In this story of a life that ends for one person but continues in the body and soul of an identical other, Kieslowski touches upon spheres of life beyond our rational grasp, and reaches for the metaphysical. Could there be two girls born on the same day and hour: one in Cracow, Poland, and one in Clermont-Ferrand, France, both given the same names and looking exactly alike? Not knowing about each other, they feel a mysterious connection. Both are musically talented, and both suffer from a heart condition.

Weronika has to choose between starting a career as a singer - with all the stresses and risk to her life that this entails - and giving it up. One day in Krakow's main square, in a passing car full of French tourists, she notices a girl taking snapshots who looks exactly like her. Weronika wins a singing contest and decides on a career. When she performs in the Philharmonic for the first time, she has a heart attack and dies on the scene.

In France at that moment Veronique feels she's suffered some unidentifiable loss. Learning of her heart condition, and heeding some mysterious inner warnings, she rejects a singing career. She begins teaching music at a primary school. She meets Alexandre, a puppeteer and story writer. Days later she receives mysterious phone calls and a series of mailings - signals that someone wants to contact her. Following them she finds the sender - Alexandre. In a hotel room where they make love, Alexandre notices in her snapshots from Krakow a girl that he thinks is Veronique and she realizes for the first time (unaware that Weronika died) that she has had a double. When the puppeteer seems to trivialize that mystical relationship by making identical puppets of Weronika and Veronique, she leaves him.

"The Double Life of Veronique" is a beautiful love story that gains in magic from the sepia-toned color of cinematographer Slawomir Idziak and the music by Zbigniew Preisner. For her performance as both Veronikas, Irene Jacob was awarded first prize for best actress at the 1991 Cannes festival, where the film was also honored with FIPRESCI and Ecumenical Jury awards. In France and elsewhere it was a box office hit.

Awards:
1991 Irene Jacob: Cannes (International Film Festival) - Best Actress
1991 Krzysztof Kieslowski: Cannes (International Film Festival) - Ecumenic Jury Award
1991 Krzysztof Kieslowski: Cannes (International Film Festival) - FIPRESCI Award
1991 Krzysztof Kieslowski: US National Society of Film Critics (NSFC) Award
1992 Krzysztof Kieslowski: Golden Reel (Literary Circle of Polish Filmmakers Association) - Best Polish Film of 1991
1992 Krzysztof Kieslowski: Golden Duck (from "Film" magazine) - Best Polish Film of 1991



Three Colors: Blue, White, Red
These three world-renowned feature films work both separately and as a trilogy, in which contemporary meanings of the three concepts of the French Revolution - Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity - are explored with reference to their respective colors in the French flag: blue, white, and red, but on the level of an individual's everyday life. "When you deal with these ideas practically, you do not know how to live with them. Do people really want liberty, equality, fraternity?" - Krzysztof Kieslowski

Three Colors. Blue / Trois Couleurs. Bleu / Trzy Kolory. Niebieski
1993, premiere: October 1, 1993, France/Poland/Switzerland, Feature (psychological drama)
35 mm, color, 98 min
Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski
Screenplay: Krzysztof Kieslowski, Krzysztof Piesiewicz
Screenplay Consultants: Agnieszka Holland, Edward Zebrowski, Slawomir Idziak
Cinematography: Slawomir Idziak
Set Design: Marie-Claire Quin, Christian Aubenque, Jean-Pierre Delettre, Julien Poitou-Weber, Lionel Acat
Music: Zbigniew Preisner; Performed by: Sinfonia Varsovia (Warsaw), The Choir of the Silesia Philharmonic (Katowice), Elzbieta Towarnicka (soprano), Jacek Ostaszewski (flute), Konrad Mastylo (piano); Conductor: Wojciech Michniewski, Jan Wojtacha (choir); Music piece: "Concerto for European Union"; Words: "Hymn on Love" from the First Letter of St. Paul to Corinthians
Producer: Marin Karmitz
Production companies: MK2 Productions SA, CED Productions, France 3 Cinema (Paris), CAB Production (Losanne), "Tor" Film Studio (Warsaw); Co-production: Canal+ ; Co-financed by: Euroimages - Council of Europe Fund, Centre National de la Cinematographie
Cast: Juliette Binoche (Julie), Benoit Regent (Olivier), Florence Pernel (Sandrine), Charlotte Very (Lucille), Helene Vincent (Journalist), Philippe Volter (Estate Agent), Claude Duneton (Doctor), Huques Quester (Patrice), Emmanuelle Riva (Mother), Daniel Martin (Downstairs Neighbor), Jacek Ostaszewski (The Flautist), Yann Tregouet (Antoine), Julie Delpy, Zbigniew Zamachowski, and others.

Kieslowski's Blue, exploring the idea of freedom in a contemporary, personal vein, is among the most highly honored films of the 1990s. A young woman named Julie (one of Juliette Binoche's greatest roles) loses in a car accident her only child and a husband who was riding a wave of international acclaim as a composer. In an agony of grief Julie decides to cut herself off from all reminders, possessions, and people connected with her life to date& starting with the family's luxurious country home. She makes three exceptions as she departs to live anonymously in a Paris apartment. She visits her demented mother, who no longer recognizes her, and tells her that she wants "no memories, belongings, friendships, loves, or ties. They are all a trap." She spends the night with a colleague of her husband's who bears an uncanny resemblance to him and has loved her from a distance. And from her country home she takes with her to "freedom" only one link to her past - her daughter's mobile of blue glass beads. In Paris, in accordance with her declaration of independence, and having given no one her new address, Julie goes to cafes, takes swims, and gets to know her new neighbor as superficially as possible. But just when she might have begun to question the effectiveness of her efforts to forget the pain of her loss, Julie discovers that her husband had a lover, who is pregnant with their child. Julie meets her and gradually realizes that a human being need not experience catastrophe in order to feel lost. She begins to re-connect with the world.

Kieslowski sometimes compared himself to a physicist examining the basic atomic structures of life, and in this voluptuously melancholic film, his mission is nothing less than charting the anatomy of a soul. "Blue" was an immediate sensation, winning the Golden Lion for Best Picture and First Prizes for Best Actress (Juliette Binoche) and Best Cinematography (Slawomir Idziak) at the Venice festival. It also received three French Film Academy Cesars (Best Actress, Sound, and Editing). Critics have emphasized the unusual visual beauty of the film.

Awards:

1993 Krzysztof Kieslowski: Venice (International Film Festival) - Gold Lion
1993 Slawomir Idziak: Venice (International Film Festival) - Best Cinematography
1993 Krzysztof Kieslowski: Venice (International Film Festival) - OCIC Award (Catholic Film Bureau)
1993 Zbigniew Preisner: Los Angeles (Film Critics Association) - Award for music
1993 Krzysztof Kieslowski: Golden Duck (from "Film" magazine) - Special Award of 1994
1994 Juliette Binoche: Cesar (French Film Academy Award) - Best Actress
1994 Jacques Witta: Cesar (French Film Academy Award) - Best Editing
1994 Jean-Claude Laureux: Cesar (French Film Academy Award) - Best Sound
1994 William Flageollet: Cesar (French Film Academy Award) - Best Sound
1994 Cesar (French Film Academy Award) nomination for Best Film
1994 Krzysztof Kieslowski: Cesar (French Film Academy Award) nomination for Best Director
1994 Krzysztof Kieslowski: Cesar (French Film Academy Award) nomination for Best Screenplay
1994 Krzysztof Piesiewicz: Cesar (French Film Academy Award) nomination for Best Screenplay
1994 Florence Pernel: Cesar (French Film Academy Award) nomination for Best Actress Debut
1994 Slawomir Idziak: Cesar (French Film Academy Award) nomination for Best Cinematography
1994 Zbigniew Preisner: Cesar (French Film Academy Award) nomination for Best Music
1994 Zbigniew Preisner: Tarnow (Tarnow Film Award) - Out-of-competition Honorable Mention
1994 Krzysztof Kieslowski: Tarnow (Tarnow Film Award) - Maszkaron - Audience Award



Three Colors. White / Trois Couleurs. Blanc / Trzy Kolory. Bialy
1993, (premiere: February 25, 1994), France/Poland/Switzerland, Feature (psychological drama/comedy)
35 mm, color, 90 min
Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski
Screenplay: Krzysztof Kieslowski, Krzysztof Piesiewicz
Screenplay Consultants: Agnieszka Holland, Edward Zebrowski, Edward Klosinski
Cinematography: Edward Klosinski
Art Consultant: Laco Adamik
Art Director: Halina Dobrowolska, Claude Lenoir
Music: Zbigniew Preisner; Performed by: Zbigniew Preisner's Small Orchestra, Zbigniew Paleta (violin), Mariusz Pedzialek (oboe), Jan Cielecki (clarinet); Conductor: Zbigniew Paleta
Song: "Ta ostatnia niedziela", music: J. Petersburski
Producer: Marin Karmitz
Production companies: MK2 Productions SA, France 3 Cinema (Paris), CAB Production (Losanne), "Tor" Film Studio (Warsaw); Co-production: Canal+; Co-financed by: Euroimages - Council of Europe Fund
Cast: Zbigniew Zamachowski (Karol), Julie Delpy (Karol's Wife), Janusz Gajos (Mikolaj), Jerzy Stuhr (Karol's Brother), and many others, including a brief appearance by Juliette Binoche.


"White" is utterly different from "Blue" in style and spirit. Karol is a Polish barber in Paris who has a beautiful French wife, but the stresses of running a barbershop in a foreign country, where he doesn't know the language or the people, have made him impotent. Unable to wait six months for their marriage to be consummated, his wife Dominique gets a divorce and takes all he has, including his old "Polonez" car. She makes it absolutely clear she'll never come back to him, even though he truly loves her. Out on the street with one suitcase, Karol undertakes to earn money for a ticket to Poland by humming on a comb in the subway. There he meets Mikolaj (brilliantly played by Janusz Gajos), a Polish intellectual for whom life has lost its meaning, but who helps the poor barber fly back to his homeland with him by checking him in one of his suitcases. After landing, the suitcase gets stolen, and Karol wakes up bruised and bloodied on a trash dump, but relieved to be home again. Somehow he finds his wings, and sets out to prove that he is "more equal than others", and worthy of Dominique. Through energy, cunning, and one enterprise after another he rapidly earns money and becomes head of an international trading company. He tries to contact Dominique, is rebuffed, and as he both loves and hates her, decides to get revenge. To lure her to Poland for that purpose he arranges his own fictitious death and has her invited to the funeral and to collect her substantial inheritance. When she returns to her hotel room after the burial she finds Karol waiting for her, very much alive and with other surprises for her as well.

After the purist, poetic, and visually and musically aestheticized first part of the "Trilogy", "White" surprised both critics and audiences alike. It is a bitter comedy, full of happenings and surprising twists. While in "Blue" the desired freedom, understood as a complete lack of interpersonal ties and obligations, turned out to be an empty nightmare, in "White" Kieslowski demonstrates is the impossibility of real equality in the world, as some people will always be "more equal" - better, richer, or cleverer - than others. "White", presenting a comedy version of Poland's economic and social transformation of the early 1990s, full of jokes and tricks that border on improbability, presents the relativity typical of Kieslowski, but not his sense of mystery. The figure of Mikolaj (the phenomenal Janusz Gajos) is the only element that introduces the darker side we usually associate with Kieslowski. Among the cast are the Chaplinesque Zbigniew Zamachowski (Karol), and Julie Delpy (Dominique).

Awards:
1994 Krzysztof Kieslowski: Berlin (International Film Festival) - "Silver Bear" - Best Director
1995 Krzysztof Kieslowski: Golden Duck (from "Film" magazine) - Best Polish Film of 1994



Three Colors. Red / Trois Couleurs. Rouge / Trzy Kolory. Czerwony
1994 (premiere: May 27, 1994), Poland/France/Switzerland, Feature (psychological drama)
35 mm, color, 95 min
Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski
Screenplay: Krzysztof Kieslowski, Krzysztof Piesiewicz
Screenplay Consultants: Agnieszka Holland, Edward Zebrowski, Piotr Sobocinski
Cinematography: Piotr Sobocinski
Art Director: Claude Lenoir
Music: Zbigniew Preisner, Bertrand Lenclos (additional music); Performed by: Sinfonia Varsovia (Warsaw), The Choir of Silesia Philharmonic (Katowice), Janusz Strobel (guitar), Jerzy Klocek (cello), The Great Symphonic Orchestra of Polish Radio and TV (Katowice) and Elzbieta Towarnicka (soprano) ("Van Der Budenmayer's" music); Conductor: Wojciech Michniewski, Jan Wojtacha (choir), Zdzislaw Szostak ("Van Der Budenmayer's" music)
Choreography: Brigitte Matteuzzi
Producer: Marin Karmitz
Production Companies: MK2 Productions SA, France 3 Cinema (Paris), CAB Production (Losanne), "Tor" Film Studio (Warsaw); Co-production: Television Suisse Romande; Co-financed by: Canal+, Euroimages - Council of Europe Fund
Cast: Irene Jacob (Valentine), Jean-Louis Trintignant (The Judge), Frederique Feder (Karin), Jean-Pierre Lorit (August), Samuel Lebinan (photographer), and many others, including (briefly) Juliette Binoche, Julie Delpy, and Zbigniew Zamachowski.

"Red", with its characteriscally off-beat rendering of "fraternity", won even more international acclaim than did "Blue". It starts off appearing to be about tenuously connected young people and their tenuous relationships with others, until Valentine, a twenty-year-old model, drives into a dog and takes the injured animal to the owner indicated on its collar, a retired judge (played by Jean-Louis Trintignant) who refuses to take the dog back. On a second visit Valentine discovers to her further dismay that the judge eavesdrops on his neighbors' phone conversations, thus learning their deepest and sometimes most repellent secrets. But this embittered cynic begins to reveal some of his own as he gradually opens up to the growing compassion of his young visitor, who in turn gradually senses that the behavior and motives he so desperately tries to understand include his own. As the judge shares his darkest secrets, Valentine shares some of her own as well, and a kind of fraternal bond emerges that seems more solid than the tenuous connections in Valentine's circle. When Valentine sets off to see her boyfriend in England, a student neighbor happens to be heading there as well, and as they board the Channel ferry, the weather changes and a storm breaks out that leads to the trilogy's finale.

"Three Colors. Red" won the French Film Academy's Cesar for Best Music by Zbigniew Preisner; the Georges Melies Award for Best French Picture of the Year 1994, given by the French Association of Film Critics; the Los Angeles Film Critics' award for Best Foreign Picture, and a nomination for the Golden Globe in the same category. As the last film of this trilogy that explores the slogans of the French Revolution, "Red" was to be - according to the director's declaration at the time - his last film (which it unexpectedly was). In "Red" not only the action is important but details, objects, scenic elements, and even the extras. Among other things, they suggest some mysterious tie between Valentine and the student living nearby whom she passes in the streets every day. Putting the puzzle together, the viewer starts asking whether people suited to each other like the halves of an apple would eventually meet, and whether they would be joined by love, but also whether a coincidence is coincidental, whether God is good or cruel, whether justice is just. A great strength of "Red" is the acting of Irene Jacob, who had played in Kieslowski's "Double Life of Veronique", and Jean-Louis Trintignant, one of the great master actors of French cinema, who, as the retired and troubled judge, becomes a haunting shadow of the director himself. The cinematography by Piotr Sobocinski, with its warm tones, soft light, and long shots, gives an impression that the outdoors - shot in Lausanne and Geneva - seems painted rather than filmed.

Awards:
1994 Georges Melies Award
1994 Vancouver (International Film Festival) - First Prize "Air Canada"
1994 Los Angeles (Film Critics Association) - Best Foreign Language Film
1994 New York (Film Critics Association) - Best Foreign Language Film
1994 Krzysztof Kieslowski: Oscar (American Film Academy Award) nomination for Best Director
1994 Krzysztof Kieslowski: Oscar (American Film Academy Award) nomination for Best Original Score
1994 Krzysztof Piesiewicz: Oscar (American Film Academy Award) nomination for Best Original Score
1994 Piotr Sobocinski: Oscar (American Film Academy Award) nomination for Best Cinematography
1994 Golden Globe (Association of Foreign Press in Hollywood Award) nomination for Best Foreign Language Film
1994 Zbigniew Preisner: Cesar (French Film Academy Award) for Best Music
1994 Cesar (French Film Academy Award) nomination for Best Film
1994 Krzysztof Kieslowski: Cesar (French Film Academy Award) nomination for Best Director
1994 Krzysztof Kieslowski: Cesar (French Film Academy Award) nomination for Best Score
1994 Krzysztof Piesiewicz: Cesar (French Film Academy Award) nomination for Best Score
1994 Jean-Louis Trintignant: Cesar (French Film Academy Award) nomination for Best Actor
1994 Irene Jacob: Cesar (French Film Academy Award) nomination for Best Actress
1994 Marin Karmitz: BAFTA (British Film Academy Award) nomination for Best Film
1994 Krzysztof Kieslowski: BAFTA (British Film Academy Award) nomination for Best Director
1994 Krzysztof Kieslowski: BAFTA (British Film Academy Award) nomination for Best Original Score
1994 Krzysztof Piesiewicz: BAFTA (British Film Academy Award) nomination for Best Original Score
1994 Irene Jacob: BAFTA (British Film Academy Award) nomination for Best Actress
1994 Valparaiso (International Film Festival) - First Prize
1994 Piotr Sobocinski: Torun (Lodz since 1999) (International Festival of the Art of Cinematography "Camerimage") - "Silver Frog
1995 Golden Reel (Literary Circle of Polish Filmmakers Association) - Best Polish Film of 1994
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