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A Short Film About Killing [1988] [DVD]

Miroslaw Baka , Krzysztof Globisz , Krzysztof Kieslowski    Suitable for 18 years and over   DVD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
Price: £4.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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A Short Film About Killing [1988] [DVD] + A Short Film About Love [DVD] [1988] + The Double Life Of Veronique [DVD]
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Product details

  • Actors: Miroslaw Baka, Krzysztof Globisz, Jan Tesarz, Zbigniew Zapasiewicz, Barbara Dziekan
  • Directors: Krzysztof Kieslowski
  • Format: PAL, Widescreen
  • Language: Polish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: Artificial Eye
  • DVD Release Date: 29 Sep 2003
  • Run Time: 85 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00009Z52Q
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 31,498 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

Krzystof Kieslowski took several years to complete his mammoth project of filming his Dekalog, each infused with a very personal motivation and dealing with conflicting opinions relating to the imperfections in both the ancient and modern legal codes. A Short Film About Killing is based on the Fifth Commandment: Thou Shalt Not Kill, and is a psychological vivisection of the brutal and senseless murder of a taxi driver by a young drifter, with no explanation offered, and no extenuating circumstances given. Kieslowski demonstrates his skill and dexterity as a master of suspense, keeping tensions rising and viewers in knots, producing a searing, powerful moral indictment of capital punishment.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
52 of 54 people found the following review helpful
By Jason Parkes #1 HALL OF FAME
Format:DVD
A Short Film About Killing, along with A Short Film About Love (also 1988) are extended takes on Krzystof Kieslowski's brilliant TV series The Dekalog- hour long films based around the principles of the Ten Commandments. These films blew my mind when I first saw them on BBC2- perfect hour long works themselves; both Killing & Love extended on these works and stand as two of Kieslowksi's finest films alongside later celebrated works such as The Double Life of Veronique & Three Colours. Let's note also, these works were set on a housing estate in Warsaw & were low budget- aspirational filmmakers should definitely watch all of these films...
A Short Film About Killing is one of Kieslowski's greatest films, an extremely disturbing work & one that was political by default (Kieslowski tending to pursue an existential tract from No End, 1984, onwards). This film famously lead to the suspension of Capital Punishment in Poland for several years- & is a far stronger film dealing with this issue than later American films such as Dead Man Walking, Last Dance & Monster's Ball. Kieslowski & the ex-lawyer co-writer Krzystof Piesiewicz offer up a philosophical film that advances on the revered works of Ingmar Bergman...& you can't help but think of European literature such as Crime & Punishment, The Outsider/The Stranger & Woyzeck. I also thought of Richard Wright's novel Native Son...
The story is simple- a youth (Miroslaw Baka) wonders around a bit, them murders a taxi driver; he is then put through the legal process & the State murders him. That's it...As with Kieslowski's other works, there are moments of beauty- here found in some kids, a drink and a window.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Potent, honest. 1 Mar 2007
Format:DVD
This is an extremely powerful film, made by a director who, in a very different way from Godard, sets out to demonstrate what cinema can do. The portrayal of violence is disturbing and unfamiliar because it is honest - as opposed to gratuitous or stylised - an approach which grounds the act of killing in the real world, hence the name.

Conversely, after watching this film the portrayal of killing in many other films becomes repulsive in its dishonesty, in its justification or condemnation of killing via a dualistic 'good/bad' morality. Kieslowski makes little attempt to justify or condemn either killing, but describes each in a detailed, almost matter-of-fact way. The viewer is left to apply her own morality to what she sees.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kieslowski's best film by far 29 Jun 2005
Format:DVD
This has got to be one of the most depressing films ever made - but also one of the best. Right up there with the classic realist cinema of Ken Loach, this fascinating and troubling portrait of crime and punishment in communist-run Poland in the 1980s is rightly regarded as one of the highest achievements of World Cinema. A disaffected youth senselessly murders a taxi driver and is put on trial by the state. He is defended by an idealistic lawyer opposed to capital punishment but who is unable to save him from execution.
This is a film about two murders (both of which are distressing and violent) but it is also a film about poverty and decay. the city of Warsaw (where the film is set) is portrayed as a repellent, odious place. This is further enhanced by the greenish filter through which the film is shot. The ugly socialist-realist apartment blocks, solitary chimneys spewing out smoke - they all paint a portrait of the ugliness and hopelessness of the communist era and make you understand how someone would be driven to murder living in such depressing surroundings.
Everyone should see this film.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, brutal & disturbing 1 Feb 2005
Format:DVD
A truly amazing film - I cannot promise that you will enjoy it, in fact I can almost guarantee that you will find it disturbing and difficult to watch. This is not because of the quality of the film, which is outstanding, but because of the subject matter and the directness with which it is tackled.
It is a film about two killings - the murder to a taxi driver by a young man and the trial and execution of the same young man by the state. There is little editorial, the films simply presents both killings in their full horrific detail. The murder of the taxi driver feels interminable as with no warning or explanation he is strangled and then battered to death with a slab. He execution of the young man is, if anything even more harrowing, as he is dragged kicking, screaming and crying to the noose. As is often the case it is the little things that are the most chilling and leave the longest lasting impact: the tears of the condemned boy, the pan to collect the human waste.
In my opinion Kieslowski was the greatest European filmmaker of the twentieth century and this film is one of his best.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Shocking, brilliant filmaking. 14 Mar 2000
Format:VHS Tape
This film is a brutal portrayal of a brutal subject, asking fundamental questions. A dejected, impoverished Polish youth commits a drawn-out, shocking murder for no real reason. His young liberal lawyer trys to defend and befriend him, with little success on either count, with a demoralising effect on his life. Moreover, to his horror, he also has to attend his client's execution by hanging, which is no less brutal or shocking than the preceding murder. In fact, the indignities of the procedure and the petty officialdom, will make any pro-capital punishment supporter reconsider. All this is incredibly well filmed (in stark, grim B&W) by the master of modern film direction and the general hopelessness is portrayed with good, believable acting. More active and provoking than some of the more contemplative works in Kieslwski's oevre and similar art-house genre pieces. To think, it started out as a Polish TV piece - miles away from your average British TV film spin-off!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Cinema of the highest order
After watching this film by the great Krzysztof Kieslowski, I bought all of his films without reading any reviews and I was not disappointed. Krzysztof Kieslowski is a master. Read more
Published on 30 April 2012 by Ahmed A. Al Ajmi
5.0 out of 5 stars A horrifying experience
One of Kieslowski's best films examines the relationship between murder and those who commit it. A lot of people consider this a work of pro-life propaganda which, in my opinion,... Read more
Published on 22 Mar 2012 by James the King
5.0 out of 5 stars masterful but far from easy
A short film about killing is now one of the classics of European cinema. Kieslowski was a giant and this is a truly remarkable film, it shows many of the characteristics that... Read more
Published on 15 April 2011 by Adam Frankenberg
5.0 out of 5 stars the film which tells you everything about capital punishment
this film is clearly a statement against capital punishment ; see it and you'll never be the same person afterwards.
Published on 30 Mar 2011 by Corbin Gérard
3.0 out of 5 stars disturbing
the murder of the taxi driver still remains with me 17 years after first seeing the film and is the reason for this review. Read more
Published on 5 Mar 2006 by bluemooner
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent DVD of a powerful cinematic masterwork.
This is easily one of the finest films ever made - a searing social indictment against murder in all it's forms and the justification of a crime on the basis of human emotion,... Read more
Published on 4 April 2005 by Jonathan James Romley
5.0 out of 5 stars For film lovers with a conscience.
A short film about killing is at first difficult to get into. One has the feeling of a low budget movie intentionally shot in the most alienating way possible. Read more
Published on 21 July 2001 by amachalepis@email.com
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful and unremittingly bleak
"A Short Film About Killing", or "Krotki Film O Zabijaniu" to use its Polish title, is easily one of the finest films made in the 1980s. Read more
Published on 29 Nov 2000
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