Thursday, February 13, 2014

Capsule Review: Krzysztof Kieślowski's A Short Film About Killing (1988)


A Short Film About Killing (1988)
Directed by Krzysztof Kieślowski

Expanded from the fifth episode of Kieślowski’s Polish television series The Decalogue, this feature introduced the master director to international audiences. A parable of grave yet poignant insight set in Communist Warsaw’s dank, damp urban expanse, the film’s simple premise—charting the violent convergence between a mysterious drifter, an opportunistic cab driver, and a newly licensed lawyer left to defend a young man against a likely death sentence—is ably embellished by Kieślowski’s flowering formal and thematic ambition, his penchant for compositional and emotional unrest spilling forth from every frame. Befitting its evocatively blunt title, it's both realist nightmare and expressionist triumph. And yet Kieślowski, as in many of his best films, locates beauty in the direst circumstances and preserves a sense of grace amid life’s moral maelstrom. (Feb 13 at Lincoln Center, part of its Masterpieces of Polish Cinema) [The L]

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