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A Short Film About Killing
A Short Film About Killing
Actors: Miroslaw Baka, Krzysztof Globisz, Jan Tesarz, Zbigniew Zapasiewicz, Barbara Dziekan
Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
NR     2004     1hr 24min

Studio: Kino International Release Date: 05/11/2004 Run time: 81 minutes


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Movie Details

Actors: Miroslaw Baka, Krzysztof Globisz, Jan Tesarz, Zbigniew Zapasiewicz, Barbara Dziekan
Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski
Creators: Slawomir Idziak, Krzysztof Kieslowski, Ewa Smal, Ryszard Chutkowski, Krzysztof Piesiewicz
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Kino Video
Format: DVD - Color - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 05/11/2004
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 24min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 9
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: Polish
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Eerie, powerful and moving
Chris Stolz | canada | 06/13/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The late Polish film-maker Krzysztof Kieslowski, who began his career as a documentarian, has, with the Decalogue, produced what is surely one of the defining moments in late twentieth century cinema. Kieslowski's project, out of whose fifth episode this film grew, was nothing less than a wholescale re-interpretation of the Ten Commandments, applied to modern life.In A Short Film About Killing, Kieslowski shows us a murder and its aftermath. Jacek, a young man, dreams of escaping the Warovian housing projects and dreary, late-Communist life to visit the mountains with his girlfriend. At the same time, a young lawyer graduates from law school, is called ot the Polish bar, nad has his first child. In what is surely one of the most horrific killings on screen, Jacek brutally strangles and beats a cab driver to death. Kieslowski's film goes on to examine the consequences of the murder on not only Jacek but his young lawyer.Kieslowski's film achieves its brilliance in its delicate balance of condemnation with compassion. Even as we see the justice of Jacek's execution, the subtly riveting scenes where we hear of the major trauma of his childhood undermine any easy sense of moral certainty we have developed. The final execution is nearly impossible to watch, as Kieslowski has, by then, made his point-- that there is an ineffable beauty in life, and that, as Plato suggested in the Republic, justice is somethign that improves us, not which destroys.Warsaw, ably filmed by the brilliant Slawomir Idziak (the cinematographer of GATTACA), is soaked in green and yellow colours, pestilential, and sometimes oddly beautiful. Kieslowski's pacing is superb. The film paints and whispers when it needs to, then it simply and quietly rips the viewer's heart out. Ultimately, the film's suggestion is deceptively simple: killing, be it for individual gain, or by the State as sanctioned punishment, is murder."
Brilliant, brutal & disturbing
J. E. Davidson | UK | 04/07/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"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.

An extended version of episode V of "The Decalogue"
Richard J. Brzostek | New England, USA | 04/07/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Krzysztof Kieslowski's "A Short Film About Killing" is an extended version of his episode V of "The Decalogue." It is about 24 minutes longer in length than its television series counterpart, but is basically the same film just fleshed out a bit. As the title suggests, this film is about killing and revolves around the lives of three people: a mean spirited cab driver who is the victim, the reckless young man who is the killer, and an ambitious young lawyer who defends him.

It portrays events where a life is taken by a killer and then the state uses the same method to punish the killer. In a sense, the film is about the death penalty, but does not make any obvious conclusions on the ethical use of this punishment. It merely shows the events that lead up to the murder, the murder itself, and the state handing out the punishment. The killer and victim both got on my nerves in the events leading up to the murder, as both of them were annoying people often reckless and inconsiderate of others. Interestingly enough, the victim and killer shared more in common than this, as the victim was choked with a rope, and the killer was hung with a rope. We truly have an "eye for an eye" punishment, adding some symbolism to the film.

The move was very emotional and thoroughly depressing as it depicts the insanity of one who takes the life of another and reminds us that this really is the crazy world in which we live in. Although this is not one of my favorite films by Kieslowski, it really is a work of art and seems to be more appreciated by those outside Poland than by the people in it.