catapult magazine

catapult magazine


The Decalogue


Apr 14 2004
12:42 pm

I watched the first two in the series and had trouble following the logic of the films, i.e. how they are related to the Ten Commandments. Maybe you could explain a bit more. I have access to them and would like to see the whole thing, but I felt like I might have to find out more about why they were made—I understand it had something to do with the film-maker’s sense that Poland was losing its sense of ethics. I did find the films to be very rich and interesting. Kieslowsky also did the Red, White and Blue films, right?

technically Blue, White, and Red for the French flag procession. Well the first Decalogue is for the commandment “I am the Lord thy God, thou shalt have no other gods before me” and the plot was about how the father and son were using their computer to measure ice temperatures to know when it would be ok to skate on a frozen lake. In a sense, then honoured the computer as a false god, hoping that it would reveal to them all of the answers they hoped to find, and in the end the boy suffered by death for this action. The second one is about a woman who has had an affair with another man, but who’s husband is deathly ill. She discovers that she is pregnant and seeks a doctors advice in what she should do. If her husband lives, she will abort the baby, if he dies, she will keep it. The doctors knows that his decision will determine the fate of one of two lives, thus he takes on the role of God in a sense. The woman is treating his role in this as something he must do, and she takes for granted the burden that she has laid upon him, thus following the commandment “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord, thy God, in vain.” An important thing to remember is that these films are not cold hard representations of the Ten Commandments but are all inspired by them and teach a different moral lesson. So definitely check them out, and the Three Colours Trilogy if you’ve never seen those either.