Decalogue 5

Thou shalt not kill. Decalogue Five, the most remarkable of the series, and was made into a cinema film, entitled A Short Film About Killing, which brought Kieslowski worldwide success. It also stands out among the other Decalogue films for its perfectly tailored message. A lonely, unemployed, aimless and uneducated country kid, full of hatred for the world around him, slaughters an undesirable taxi driver out of touch with human values. The kid is then sentenced to death for his crime. The film judges the two brutal killings on an equal footing. These are cinema's longest, most effective murder scenes inasmuch as they pass judgment on every aspect of killing. They confront us with the horrors of murder in its every shape and form then force us to question ethical doctrine on the awesomeness of the experience. Both lead characters of Decalogue Five have negative qualities. Yet Kieslowski gives a powerful account of the human need for goodness, togetherness and understanding in spite of everything. In order to reflect the psychology of the filthy, empty, depressive city and its inhabitants, cinematographer Slawek Idziak uses filters to give the film a bile-green tone. In so doing, he adds an important visual dimension to the film's narrative. Structured around the city of Warsaw and its people, Decalogue Five bears witness to the deep despair of modern man all over the world, as he battles with feelings of aimlessness, lovelessness and loneliness. At the same time, the film judges murder and the death penalty on an equal basis and engraves on the audience's memory the sheer horror of killing. Another detail that deserves mention is the defence lawyer's tireless struggle against the death penalty and his ability to see the human face of the guilty party. Interestingly, the film made such an impact in Poland at the time that the government ruled to defer all executions for five years. Necla Algan
Poland
'
1988


Script
Krzysztof Kieslowski
Krzysztof Piesiewicz

Cinematography
Piotr Sobocinski

Editing
Ewa Smal

Production
TVP S.A. Film Agency

Cast
Artur Barcis
Daniel Olbrychski
Joanna Szczepkowska
Maria Pakulnis

Festivals
10th Festival on Wheels
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