The Decalogue is a series of ten films loosely based on the ten commandments.
At a glance, it would be easy to write off Krzysztof Kieslowski’s The Decalogue as religious propaganda or something similar, but that does not seem to be the intention. This is not a heavy handed approach to religion, or even morality. Though there are ten films in the series, each film does not explicitly follow a single commandment. In fact, the series focuses more on people than religion. The films are simple but powerful and though originally shot for Polish television, they are shot beautifully. The quality of the picture is not amazing and the translation seems a bit loose at times, but once you find yourself wrapped up in the story, you likely won’t even notice these things.
A young boy named Pawel lives with his father,Krzysztof, a professor, and together, the two have a very analytical way of thinking. They have computer programs to do calculations for physics problems, including the thickness of the ice in a nearby pond and how much weight it should be able to hold. After finding a dead dog, Pawel decides he wants to go to religious lessons as a way to cope with his father’s views on there not being an afterlife.
Decalogue I really starts the series off with a bang, and it hooked me almost instantly. The beauty is that the characters are realistic and believable. When tragedy strikes, it is a punch to the gut and even though we were only just introduced to these characters in less than an hour’s time, we feel connected to them. This humanism is the magic of Kieslowski’s filmmaking and these “short” films are testaments to his genius. Decalogue I is one of the best films I’ve seen, and easily ranks among my favorites from Kieslowski
I give it 5 out of 5.