Krzysztof Kieslowski

Krzysztof Kieslowski is a Polish director who is well known for his role in creating some of the most controversial films in Polish cinema. He began his career as a documentary filmmaker, but eventually moved into feature films, for which he is most famous. His career in features wasn’t overly long and he didn’t create a vast collection of films, but his works have influenced directors for the last thirty years and will continue to endure.

If I could use one word to describe the theme of Kieslowski’s films it would be fate. Each one of his films focuses on how a character’s choices have influenced their life up to that point. The past is never out of sight and though many of character’s try to outrun it, it always catches them in some way. The most prominent example of his heavy reliance on fate is in Blind Chance (1987). The theme of fate is ever present in this film as the protagonist makes choices that ultimately change his entire life, but never allow him to avoid his destiny. This theme is also present in The Double Life of Veronique (1991) as two identical women find their lives intertwined with no apparent explanation why.

Kieslowski is also a master of creating a common thread between his works. In Decalogue (1988) he takes on the Ten Commandments by creating short episodes focused on his own interpretations of the commandments. Each episode has its own theme, but there are commanalities within the entire work that unite the episodes into a master stroke that is easily his magnum opus, but not the end of his dance with fate. His final work is the Three Colors Trilogy (1993-1994). This trilogy is loosely connected, but each film has a lot of common themes and symbolism that helped make Kieslowski an expert in the cinematic connective tissue that has inspired many filmmakers since.

His most notable works include:

  • Blind Chance
  • Decalogue
  • The Double Life of Veronique
  • Three Colors (Blue, White, Red)