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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The authentic masterpieces of the late twentieth century
These ten films are the greatest achievement of European film making in the last twenty years. Shot with a visual economy and brutality of style which grew out of Kieslowski's work in documentary, they are at once profoundly wise and unflinchingly honest. Each individual film is a self-contained masterpiece, almost aphorisitic in their brevity and understated...
Published on 9 Dec 2000

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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great movies, poor translation and BAD subtitles
There're not enough starts to rate this compilation of movies.
My only, but a big negative comment is regarding the quality of subtitles or rather absolute no quality of translation.
I am Polish and while I was watching this I was appalled with a complete lack of understanding and real oversimplifications made by translators.
This is really not fair that...
Published on 12 April 2010 by B. Wlodarczyk


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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The authentic masterpieces of the late twentieth century, 9 Dec 2000
By A Customer
These ten films are the greatest achievement of European film making in the last twenty years. Shot with a visual economy and brutality of style which grew out of Kieslowski's work in documentary, they are at once profoundly wise and unflinchingly honest. Each individual film is a self-contained masterpiece, almost aphorisitic in their brevity and understated rhetoric.
All the works concern various individual and overlapping lives on a vast Polish housing estate, and are filmed in colour which seems to have been drained of all but the most sombre hues. The theme of each film is drawn loosely from the ten comandments and explores what those imperatives might mean in a modern context. There is a profound sense of locality, with the films growing out of specifically Polish experience, yet never seeming parochial. Seen through Kieslowski's lense that vast housing complex really does become an entire world. The most famous of the series are those which gained independent release as "A short film about Killing" and "A short film about Love", but make no mistake, the quality of all the works is uniformly high.
Anyone who has come to know Kieslowski's work through later films such as "The Double Life of Veronique" or the "Three Colours Trilogy", might be surprised by the absences of beautiful effects and flights of poetic fancy. These are not films which offer the comforts or almost mystical catharsis of his last works. Instead they turn an unflinching gaze on some ordinary lives, focussing on the meanness, solitude and quiet desperation of ordinary people, but by doing so they ultimately offer moments of redemption and humanity which put them into the same rank as the later portraits of Rembrandt. These are films to return to again and again. If you let them they will get under your skin and allow you to see the world with a "Kieslowskian eye", not necessarily a seductive or beautiful vision, but one which has a richenss beyond virtually any western art (not simply cinema)of the last twenty to thirty years. In the long run it is with these films that the greatness of the director will come to be understood, rather than on the more self-conscious works which gained him a wider audience in the west.
Essential if you want to understand the state of humanity in late twentieth century Europe
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic of East European Cinema, 1 Feb 2006
By 
L. Davidson (Belfast, N.Ireland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Dekalog: Parts 1-5 [DVD] (DVD)
"Dekalog" consists of ten ,one-hour long films ,each based loosely on one of the Ten Commandments. Each film is set in a stereotypical drab ,high-rise housing estate in Warsaw ,during Communist rule in the 1980's. It would be flippant ,and a gross over-simplification, to say that "Dekalog" is like a cross between "Play for Today" and "EastEnders", but Kieslowski's ten films do have certain similarities in format to these two programmes. The estate is like a huge, high-rise Albert Square and each film is like a well-constructed play ; each one dealing with different types of social, personal and emotional issues and all containing impressive and intense acting performances by the cast. The character portraits that Kieslowski draws in each episode of the "Dekalog" are exquisite. The ten films are for the most part earnest and grim , without much light relief for the viewer. They are ,most certainly,not a barrel of laughs . All of the films deal with events that put a strain on loving personal relationships ; mostly between parent and child and husband and wife. Other common themes featured in the ten films are those of loneliness, alienation, regret and despair. Also, in nearly all of the films , a taciturn young man (Artur Barcis) appears .He neither utters any words nor interacts with any of the characters. He appears whenever the main character in each film faces a serious moral dilemma or personal trial. Is he God , an angel or a demon ? Can he even be seen by the other characters in the film ? Each film is slow paced and filmed superbly by Kieslowski ; many beautiful images are portrayed and he captures the vast range of emotions of his characters perfectly. We also get a vivid picture of life under Communism; a drab, uniform landscape where doctors, counter- assistants, IT workers, university lecturers and taxi drivers all live in the same utilitarian high rise estate. However beneath this deceptive ,surface greyness are a myriad of individual lives and relationships filled with love, regret and despair, which mirror those found all over the world and are common to the human experience. Kieslowski binds all of these themes together with religion and the Ten Commandments in particular. He shows in his films how the Mosaic Law is relevant to today's very different world and what the consequences are of ignoring these instructions. "Dekalog" is split into two discs , "1-5" and "6-10." "1-5" features the best of the films in "Dekalog" , "Dekalog 5" , a harrowing and memorable tale about a young man who murders a taxi driver in cold blood. "Dekalog 1" is also exceptional; a tale about a father-son relationship which ends in tragedy. If I was to make one criticism of the films, apart from their unremitting seriousness, it would be about the English subtitles. The quality of the English translation in my DVD wasn't the greatest and sometimes they didn't stay on the screen long enough for me to read them properly.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great movies, poor translation and BAD subtitles, 12 April 2010
By 
B. Wlodarczyk "FairDo" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Dekalog: Parts 1-5 [DVD] (DVD)
There're not enough starts to rate this compilation of movies.
My only, but a big negative comment is regarding the quality of subtitles or rather absolute no quality of translation.
I am Polish and while I was watching this I was appalled with a complete lack of understanding and real oversimplifications made by translators.
This is really not fair that someone allowed such a blip.
You'd better watch it with some other Poles so that can explain and tell you the real dialogues and meaning of "things".
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Totally absorbing, 28 Mar 2006
By 
Mr. S. J. Robson "sleepytimegorillaboy" (Truro, Cornwall, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Dekalog: Parts 1-5 [DVD] (DVD)
I finished watching the last one last night and I never wanted it to end.
First lets get the one downside out of the way: The audio quality has a lot to answer for! It's not terrible but for me (a sound engineer) it really made me question if the company that dealt with the DVD conversion really considered the importance of this collection. But don't let me put you off because of the audio quality, at the end of the day it really isn't that bad and it sort of adds to the time it was created.
Now on to the good side, or sides I should say: I could pick any one part of these 10 stories and find incredible acting, totally original camera work and an inspirational story told in a wonderfully natural fashion.
When I first got the collection I slipped the first one one purely out of interest and I can honestly say I have never to my memory been so captivated by the first 10 minutes of a film.
The music, the intrigue, the script and the most convincing child actor I think I've ever seen.
Even the 2 parts I consider to be not so good you could pull to pieces and discover so much.
I really could type forever on this masterpiece of a collection but instead I'll leave the space below for all of you to put your comments in.
Krzysztof set a standard in 1988 and that standard is far far out of reach to many of the modern day directors (dare I say it!)
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Monumental Achievemet, 1 Jun 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Dekalog: Parts 1-5 [DVD] (DVD)
Decalogue is a monumental achievement: a remarkable examination of moral tale colliding, and often yielding, against the bounds of human frailty. Kieslowski crafts each episode with a distinctive signature, creating serenely indelible, spare, and poetic imagery. Each of the ten episodes of the series is a profound observation on the trials and tribulations of everyday life, reflected in complex ways - direct and abstruse - but all fundamentally, and infalliably, human.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thou shalt watch these films..., 7 April 2006
By 
James Choles (Colombo, Sri Lanka) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Dekalog: Parts 1-5 [DVD] (DVD)
Like most people I thought that Kieslowski's famous 'Three Colours' trilogy was the director's masterpiece. Life-altering though these films were, I now know I was wrong.
Because the 'Dekalog' is simply devastating. Each film is a profound meditation on the themes of love, loss, time and chance, among a whole host of other things.
Set in a Warsaw housing estate at the tail-end of the 1980's, each attempts to explain the complexities of what it means to be human: to lose a child, to be spurned by a prospective lover, to be sentenced to death [as, of course, we all are].
These films could only have been made by a man with a supreme faith in humankind, a faith that, as the films progess, we learn has come to supplant any belief in the supernatural or God himself.
Brilliant.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the greatest works of art the cinema can offer!, 30 Aug 2004
This review is from: Dekalog: Parts 1-5 [DVD] (DVD)
This is not only the crowning achievement of a master, and now sorely missed director but one of the single greatest achievements in cinema. Basically it is ten 1 hour films, each one loosely based on one of the ten commandments. The stories are about the problems the characters face in everyday life in a warsaw apartment block. The ten stories deal with the problems that people might have to or shall face in everyday life and these themes are connected with the commandments making what is probably the most human film you'll ever see which is what made Kieslowski such a unique director of the art. The stories deal with human subjects such as love and death. Ultimately I see it as a damnation of society today and it's morals and ethics though there's still a respect that this is the fabric of human nature. What's so immpressive about this cycle is that over the course of its 9 and a half hours running time the suspense and tension built up through the stories never lulls making this one of the most effecting movie going experiences the cinema could possibly offer. The three colours trilogy might be more popular today but no one could possibly deny this as Kieslowski's masterpiece, although that trilogy is also a landmark of modern cinema.
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42 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant films, mediocre DVD, 1 July 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Dekalog: Parts 1-5 [DVD] (DVD)
While Dekalog is undoubtedly one of the great achievements of cinema, the Electric Eye DVDs could be far better. Although the transfer is adequate, it is apparently not from the original prints or broadcast videotape; the English subtitles are on the print itself and cannot therefore be turned off (and, of course, there are no original Polish-language subtitles); and like too many DVDs, the layer changes occur in the middle of scenes rather than between them. Worst of all, the original opening and closing credits have been replaced with a kitschy graphic montage (in which the T in "commandments" is a Christian cross, which suggests at best a crass misunderstanding of the films) and the Polish names are displayed without the appropriate accents.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astounding!, 8 Oct 2007
By 
F. Candlish "frc" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Dekalog: Parts 1-5 [DVD] (DVD)
Although made for television these 5 'plays' remain very cinematic in form.
These films are cinematic art and are directed with the brilliance you would expect from Kielowski. The plays are also beautifully acted and frequently make for uncomfortable but ultimately satisfying viewing. Many of the images and characters linger long in the memory.
All the plays take part in a grim tower block in Warsaw where we find Doctors, Lecturers, Musicians and Taxi drivers all living side by side.
If you are like me fascinated by life in the old Cummunist Europe then this is a wonderfull insight.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very thought provoking, 7 Dec 2000
By A Customer
Dekalog has all the hallmarks of a Kieslowski work. Just as in his other works, words are used economically, and are perfectly weighted, and there is a delicate handling of the character development in each of the pieces.
The symbolism relating to each of the Commandments is never shoved in the viewers face, and it is never "preachy": indeed it often requires serious thought after watching each piece to realise that Kieslowski has neatly turned each one on its head. Similarly to the Three Colours trilogy, the same characters appear in cameo roles outwith their own piece. This is not a cheery number, but it is a beautifully crafted and attention grabbing work. The haunting music from Preisner enhances the photography and direction, as in Kieslowski's other works, and it works particularly well in my favourite of the five films in this set, Thou Shalt Have no other God but me.
It may sound like a cliche, but this is a video which will exercise your grey matter, and have you thinking about it long after you've taken the tape out of the video machine. All I can do is to urge you to buy this, because you won't regret it!
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Dekalog: Parts 1-5 [DVD]
Dekalog: Parts 1-5 [DVD] by Krzysztof Kieslowski (DVD - 2002)
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