A Short film about killing

(Krótki film o zabijaniu, 1988)
   The extended theatrical version of the fifth part of Krzysztof Kieslowski's acclaimed television series Decalogue (1988). The film tells the story of a young drifter, Jacek Lazar (Mirosław Baka), who commits the callous, brutal murder of a taxi driver (Jan Tesarz), and despite the spirited defense by a young lawyer (Krzysztof Globisz), he is sentenced to death for his crime and hanged. Kieslowski's film presents three distinct viewpoints and crosscuts between the sociopathic murderer, the taxi driver who later becomes his victim, and the idealistic lawyer whose first case is defending the killer. Kieślowski brings into focus small, gritty, realistic details. He stresses the graphic, dreadful aspect of both the murder of the taxi driver and the killing authorized by the state. The long sequence during which the taxi driver is killed leaves nothing to the imagination. By also depicting the execution of Jacek with all the terrifying details, Kieślowski almost equates the two killings. Like the gloomy events portrayed in the film, the capital city of Warsaw, where the film is set, is depicted as a repellent, depressing place: gray, brutal, and peopled by alienated characters. The greenish filters used by cinematographer Sławomir Idziak not only dehumanize and distort the images of Warsaw but also leave some diffused colors in the center of the frame. A Short Film about Killing received the FIPRESCI Prize and the Jury Prize at the 1988 Cannes Film Festival, earned the Best European Film award ("Felix"), and received the Grand Prix at the Festival of Polish Films in Gdynia with A Short Film About Love (1988), the theatrical version of Decalogue 6.
   Historical Dictionary of Polish Cinema by Marek Haltof

Guide to cinema. . 2011.

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