The Decalogue is a 10-film series, directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski and broadcast on Polish television in 1989.
Dekalog I: I am the Lord your God; you shall have no other gods before me.
While each of Krzysztof Kieslowski’s ten films in the Dekalog series are based on the Roman Catholic interpretation of the Ten Commandments I have to stay that this first film is the best display of religious themes I’ve ever seen. To add to that Kieslowski presents themes of death, mortality and morality to go along with that. The man is obviously a very talented director and he presents a clear and distinct vision with each of his films and this is no different even though it stands at a short 52 minutes, the film still manages to bring out emotions from the viewer. The performance from the young boy here is the stand out of the entire piece but his father does well to bring out his character too. I also liked how the film started at the end and as a result ended with the start – rounded it off very nicely.
Dekalog II: You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.
While the first film was directly about religion, this one is more about death and, on the opposite spectrum, birth. Our main character is a woman torn between her dying husband and her new lover with who she plans to leave if her husband dies. Our protagonist is also bearing a child but she isn’t sure if she wants to keep it. Throughout this 56 minute piece (longer than the first) we are presented with spellbinding performances from our leading woman and the Doctor taking care of her husband. In addition to this the cinematography is much better than the first – a lone shot of water dripping onto the dying man’s bed is later matched with a handheld shot which follows the water from the ceiling into a dirty pot, a shot which stands out in the entire piece. Not as good as the first piece but a great follow up.
Dekalog III: Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
The third part of the Dekalog takes place on Christmas Eve and follows a taxi driver who is torn between spending it with his family and helping an old flame find her missing husband. In conjuction with two other Commandments (You shall not commit adultery and You shall not lie) our taxi driver goes with his old flame to help find her husband but they soon rekindle their love. The score here is the best it’s been so far in the Dekalog – it’s not exactly in every single scene but when it does play a part it’s beautiful and helps you feel the connection between these two characters. There isn’t much in the way of religious themes aside from the day it takes place on, this is a much more character driven piece. It’s also the first film in the series to interweave main characters – the father from the first piece appears very briefly at the beginning. Another great addition to the series, better than the second but I can’t say it’s better than the first.