Dekalog VII & VIII

Dekalog VII
“Can you steal what is really yours?” The morally-ambiguous answer to this question that kicks off VII calls both governing laws and cultural mores of ownership into question as Kieślowski explores what it means to steal a human life. The commandment we learn to grasp at the earliest age—the concept “thou shalt not steal”—is scrutinized when a young woman kidnaps her own child, Ania, in an attempt to reclaim the girl who has thus far been raised by her parents. Through Ania’s eyes, we watch as these adults fumble through the irreparable damage that covert theft and selfish possessiveness can wreak on a family for generations.

Dir. Krzysztof Kieślowski, 1988, DCP, 58 min

Dekalog VIII
An exploration of the sanctity of truth, VIII takes ethics professor Zofia and Holocaust survivor Elżbieta outside of the familiar Warsaw apartment block to another building with another distinct array of covert, complicated stories, including a poignant past shared between the two women. As we learn that even an edifice can be a witness to our shame and humiliation, the delicate nuance involved in upholding the commandment “thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor” expands Kieślowski’s series in orders of magnitude, including a direct reference to II and a foreshadowing of X. Based on the personal childhood experience of Polish journalist Hanna Krall, VIII reminds us that this “interesting building” in which all our protagonists reside is, in reality, “just the same as any other”—filled with endless stories the surface of which we can only begin to scratch.

Dir. Krzysztof Kieślowski, 1988, DCP, 55 min

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