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  • Writer's pictureP D Dawson

Kieślowski's Dekalog, Part Five of Ten (Film Review)

Dekalog, Five

Thou shalt not kill.


Part five of the Dekalog series follows three main characters, Jacek Lazar, the man who will kill, taxi driver Waldemar Rekowski, the man who will be killed, and lawyer Piotr Balicki, the man who will represent the accused in court. There are various other characters in this episode, but they all gravitate around the pointless crime that Jacek commits. There is a warning at one point for Jacek too against his future crime, when actor Artur Barcis once again shows up as a character, this time as a road worker, who symbolically warns him of his fate if he should proceed.

This part however is less about preaching and practicing punishment against the wicked, and instead plays the mantra of forgiving sins, against the commandment of Thou shalt not kill. Which one is right, and which one wrong? Can the state go against the commandment under the guise of capital punishment, and does that make it right? Piotr, the lawyer who is against capital punishment thinks not, and by the end of the film can hardly bear the atrocity committed in the name of the state. There is a very touching scene before Jacek meets his death, where he reminisces about his sister, whose accidental death he was blamed for, and how things might have been different for him and everyone else, had that tragedy not occurred. Piotr can do nothing but agree with him, though for the fate that awaits Jacek, there is nothing he can do.

The start of this part is seen through a yellow filter, before Jacek commits his crime, and then we move to the ending part which is very dull and dark with the filter removed. This fits perfectly with the mood of the final scenes, and in the yellow-tinged scenes we see that things are more dreamlike, and we are given a sense of unreality of the things played out. I think this enabled Kieślowski to make us see the world through Jacek's eyes, and again, slightly empathise with him in the later parts, when everything in the world suddenly becomes all too dark and real.

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