#279: The Decalogue

njvnki9xdr7oaaxgaaq1uhuww2r#279 – The Decalogue, (Dekalog), 1989, Krzysztof Kieślowski

Originally made for Polish television, “The Decalogue” focuses on the residents of a housing complex in late-Communist Poland, whose lives become subtly intertwined as they face emotional dilemmas that are at once deeply personal and universally human. Its ten hour-long films, drawing from the Ten Commandments for thematic inspiration and an overarching structure, grapple deftly with complex moral and existential questions concerning life, death, love, hate, truth, and the passage of time.

#290: Ashes and Diamonds

yzcf3tjrfdvru9v9y9ujjjwgjb9#290 – Ashes and Diamonds, (Popiól i diament), 1958, Andrzej Wajda

It’s May 1945, and Nazi Germany has just surrendered. The war is over, but not in Poland. As the German soldiers vacate, the remaining Russian forces and Polish resistance fighters must work out the hierarchies of power in “liberated” Communist Poland. A Polish assassin is given orders to kill a Russian soldier whom he, days before, was fighting alongside, and this moral conflict makes him question the goals for which he has been fighting.

#325: Three Colours: Blue

fgzygqwt2yggolqa747dwgdvhrf#325 – Three Colors: Blue, (Trois couleurs : Bleu), 1993, Krzysztof Kieślowski

Julie is haunted by her grief after living through a tragic auto wreck that claimed the life of her composer husband and young daughter. Her initial reaction is to withdraw from her relationships, lock herself in her apartment and suppress her pain. But avoiding human interactions on the bustling streets of Paris proves impossible, and she eventually meets up with Olivier, an old friend who harbors a secret love for her, and who could draw her back to reality.

#351: The Pianist

iunmxwkoi7vk17ob3g2hwwjghsr#351 – The Pianist, 2002, Roman Polanski

The true story of pianist Władysław Szpilman’s experiences in Warsaw during the Nazi occupation. When the Jews of the city find themselves forced into a ghetto, Szpilman finds work playing in a café; and when his family is deported in 1942, he stays behind, works for a while as a laborer, and eventually goes into hiding in the ruins of the war-torn city.

#398: Three Colours: Red

klfrlf8xmwmivvy9ncpnbqmyxps#398 – Three Colours: Red, (Trois couleurs : Rouge), 1994, Krzysztof Kieślowski

Part-time model Valentine meets a retired judge who lives in her neighborhood after she runs over his dog. At first the judge gifts Valentine with the dog, but her possessive boyfriend won’t allow her to keep it. When she returns with the dog to the judge’s house, she discovers him listening in on his neighbors’ phone conversations. At first Valentine is outraged, but her debates with the judge over his behavior soon leads them to form a strange bond.

#471: The Double Life of Véronique

fujrm8bpl9dhlbwizt1f44ivd7a#471 – The Double Life of Véronique, (La double vie de Véronique), 1991, Krzysztof Kieślowski

Véronique is a beautiful young French woman who aspires to be a renowned singer; Weronika lives in Poland, has a similar career goal and looks identical to Véronique, though the two are not related. The film follows both women as they contend with the ups and downs of their individual lives, with Véronique embarking on an unusual romance with Alexandre Fabbri, a puppeteer who may be able to help her with her existential issues.

#805: Knife in the Water

tkdecwzhy9hzzvjzfjw0rpgwuig#805 – Knife in the Water, (Nóz w wodzie), 1962, Roman Polanski

On their way to an afternoon on the lake, husband and wife Andrzej and Krystyna nearly run over a young hitchhiker. Inviting the young man onto the boat with them, Andrzej begins to subtly torment him; the hitchhiker responds by making overtures toward Krystyna. When the hitchhiker is accidentally knocked overboard, the husband’s panic results in unexpected consequences. This was the first feature directed by Roman Polanski.