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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
No happy endingsAug. 25 2004
- Published on Amazon.com
"No End" (1985), probably the best of Krzysztof Kieslowski's early feature films, was assailed by the church because of its dark, numbing ending. The film was set in 1981, during martial law. With a setup out of "Six Feet Under," this was Kieslowski's most personal film, his friend and fellow director Agnieszka Holland says in the extras. "Audiences didn't know what to make of it." Grazyna Szapolowska plays a young widow who fights to find a reason to go on; a second story concerns the trial of an uncompromising political prisoner. Critics of the time complained it was really two movies. Perhaps. They're both well worth seeing. This is one of four recent additions to Kino's Kieslowski collection -- along with "The Scar," "Camera Buff" and "Blind Chance" -- all of which show that the Polish master's writing and directing skills arrived almost fully formed when he turned to feature films. Each of the films benefits from a powerful central performance. They are products of the 1970s and '80s, a time of vast sociopolitical changes in Poland, but are not timepieces or simplistic attacks on the communists. Highly recommended. The color images (full frame, enhanced) and sound are adequate. Subtitles are clear. The DVD includes a short film.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Sometimes the only end to pain and suffering is just that; the end...June 18 2009
- Published on Amazon.com
`Bez Konca' is a hard film to really describe. It's somber, chilling and absolutely haunting, and yet still I find myself grasping at air to try and convey my real feelings for the film. I consider it nearly flawless. I consider it a near masterpiece. I consider it one of the best films of the 80's and quite frankly possibly one of the best films of all time and yet still, I am struggling to find a way to get that across without just coming right out and saying it.
That ending just kills me.
The film, as some have already expressed, is basically two separate films that interweave due to a tragic death. Urszula Zyro is dealing with the death of her husband, Antek, trying to move on. Before his death, Antek was working on a case involving a stubborn and unflinching political prisoner. Urszula finds herself involved with the case as her husband looks on from above (or from mere inches away), watching to make sure that all he left behind is properly taken care of.
The more interesting of the stories by far is that of Urszula's emotional recovery, but in my opinion (and I could be wrong here, as far as you are concerned), both are necessary to capturing the real meat of the film. Both stories really compliment one another, and serve to help keep the audience more than merely interested in the events unfolding; we are intrigued and completely engulfed in them.
If you see this film for any reason, see if for Grazyna Szapolowska. Her stellar (and by stellar I mean S-T-E-L-L-A-R) performance carries this whole film to another level. As Urszula tries to shake the feeling of her husband, we watch Grazyna completely devour this character, sinking into her every natural emotional struggle. There are so many subtle moments that just nail us with such power, such strength. There is so much beauty within her pain (if that makes sense to you) and she is, without doubt, unforgettable here.
I really want to see more from Krzysztof Kieslowski. I hear so many good things about his films and yet I still have yet to see anything else from him outside of this brilliant film. I have even been told that this is less than stellar for him, and if that is the case than I am going to adore everything else he has to offer; I'm sure of it.
With a delicate delivery (the direction here is spot on flawless for the emotional weight the film carries) and expert performances, `Bez Konca' is a stunning testament to the power of love, the power of loss and the power of humanity.
And that ending.
A true classicApril 8 2012
- Published on Amazon.com
Perhaps the most intuitive and self revealing among Kieslowski's films, "No End" explores a duality of stories which interweave in their support of the truth. Both political and self exploring, this film further established Grazyna Szapolowska as perhaps the most sensual actress in today's film community. Her depiction as a tortured survivor and a savior to a cause of others' choosing seals her fate which results in the most noble of surrenders at film's end. Wanting to pull the tape off the vents, open your arms for her embrace, and set her soul free to move along, you must be content to simply watch the unraveling of life and the surrender of a soul. The Szapolowska/Kieslowski pairing makes for a wonderful film experience for the viewer who might continue to debate the "what ifs" long after its viewing. An honor to watch.
A haunting elegy of considerable powerJuly 14 2011
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A film not seen outside Poland until 1986 because of its pro-Solidarity stance. Coming out of the dead end of a materialist-determinist culture as in the Poland of 1982 under martial law,this film uses the ghost of a young lawyer,Antek(Radziwilowicz )explaining he is already dead,and who oversees proceedings.We are in the realm of metaphysics:the spiritual and hypnotism figure,the Pope isPolish. Antek affects the living world in small ways,the family dog is aware of his presence. Antek's wife,Urszula(Ulla)[Szapolowska], tries to overcome her grief and wants to help one of Antek's former clients, Darek,-a worker accused of being an opposition activist-who will now be defended by Labrador(Bardini),one of Antek's colleagues-an older experienced lawyer.
Social political obligations balance Ulla's private grief,the film's politics and glimpses into daily life under martial law are equally as involving as thepersonal drama.Unable to affect change under martial law the average person possessing a clear conscience is reduced to being a ghost,hence the exploration of thespiritual and the private realm of feelings of Ulla(and Kieslowski).Coming at the end of a series of short films and documentaries from 1970,Kieslowski made features like Camera Buff,Blind Chance and No End in the late 70s and early 80s.Prior to the Dekalog most of his work was openly political,but with this film and the Dekalog series,he pushes poverty,political struggle and bureaucracy into the background,focusing instead on emotional,ethical and psychological dilemmas common to any modern Western society.Kieslowski shows a growing command of interior representation,Ulla's reflective moments,odd visual details-a clenching hand,the rubbing of toes.Everyday reality is no longer enough,it's the exploration of what lies beyond that,how people are connected,and where they might end up.This is the 1st of Kieslowski's screenwriting collaborations with former lawyer Piesiewiicz. Though watched over by Antek,Ulla is attempting through sex and hypnotism to murder her overwrought memories,while raising her son.
Antek watches as the client,charged with organising a political strike,is defended by the veteran lawyer who knows as he did not,how to compromise.For the prisoner freedom means standing up for your beliefs,freedom of speech is more important than prison.The film is about bereavement as well as politics,a kind of ghoststory as well,with Kieslowski triumphant,because of the passion of his commitment toboth major themes and the leading two actors' interpretation.The ghost story works due to the real understanding of what it is like to lose someone you love. Kieslowski creates in No End a moment of mourning for both Ulla and a nation disenchanted with its present and future possibilities.There is a beautiful balance of colour and tone in the picture quality. The final, bittersweet image depicts the two of them walking together through an indigo twilight.Kieslowski's future creative team was composer Zbigniew Preisner, whose deliberate and haunting melody for No End would surface again as the central theme in Blue,with its Pauline hymn to the power and necessity of love.A master then of contemporary world cinema.