A dirty Warsaw frames A Short Film About Killing, symbolizing a society in decay. Murder . . . both state sanctioned and random are shown in counterpoint. The film is a powerful indictment about the death penalty, and the barrister reflects the outrage of the heart. The second theme is random chance . . . if only the killer's sister hadn't been killed, if only he had a good friend to talk to, if only someone had intervened. The film is so hard to watch because it reflects the mirror back at our souls.
Voyeurism, love and loneliness mingle in A Short Film About Love. Love, the special world, cannot be approached directly, but only tangentially . . . in the film's case, through the lens. Where Tomek begins as an impassioned voyeur, his love interest takes over as the film progresses. Do we only need a fleeting glimpse to arrive at love? How do we escape from being alone in the world? Such universal question are asked(and answered) in this expanded film version of The Dialogue classic.
Blind Chance is fantastic. Absolutely great. The themes of free choice and predetermination are explored not as opposites but as two qualities somehow blended together. When we think, "ah, I can choose," are we correct, or does each cosmic choice imply similar outcomes, similar problems? If we have three choices, are they really so different? Is the bad choice so bad? On the extra selections, check out the fascinating interview with his film censor, whom he respected so much she became a sort of creative sounding board for his works in progress, while at the same time examining his work in her `official capacity.'
No End is obviously a precursor to Blue . . . where the dead(sometimes literally, sometimes metaphorically)live on, influencing events. There is no Black and White in Kieslowski's films, only gradations. Like Blind Chance, each position/argument on how to handle the case of the prisoner has their pro and con side. Truth or the true side of the prisoner is expressed by the deceased lawyer, revealed through his writings. Check out the short documentary The Office on the extras portion of the disc. It has comedy, wit, grace and tragedy(all in five minutes). It takes place in the black hole of an official state office where some hack drones on in a staccato tone to desperate pleas from several claimants. In this short(shot in film school), one can see the shape and scope of Kieslowski's future films.
On the extras of Camera Buff, Kieslowski's short documentary Talking Heads shows the humanity and hopes of ordinary people, and also of the filmmaker Kieslowski himself. Camera Buff works on several levels. First, it's laugh-out-loud funny(in parts). Second, it raises questions of putting somebody in the spotlight . . . and its implications. Like the dwarf worker or the communist functionary who loses his job. I see implications in news stories everyday . . . the power of turning the camera on ourself. This is Kieslowski's first "breakthrough film," and, perhaps it is here that Kieslowski first all incorporates all of the parts in the sum in combination making Kieslowski a singular genius. No other filmmaker or artist of any kind examines life in this manner, turning the camera inward.