Decalogue, Two

Decalogue II

Action shot
  • Description
  • Cast and crew
  • Duration: 53’
  • Genre: DRAMA
  • Resolution: HD
  • Year: 1988

This original series illustrating the Ten Commandments has firmly established Kieślowski’s international reputation. Each of the presented stories is linked to the theme of a particular commandment. Because of its form, all viewers are deeply moved by these movies, regardless of their views or religious beliefs. Asked on numerous occasions why he had chosen such a hard subject, the director replied curtly: “It’s worthwhile to be reminded of these ten very well written sentences. There needs to be a point of reference, a definitive criterion (...)”. The series won numerous awards at film festivals and is one of the most recognizable Polish productions. 

‘Swear to it!’ – in this demand directed to a hard-faced doctor by pregnant Dorota, torn apart between love to her dying husband, another love to her lover living across the ocean and the desire to become a mother, which was impossible until then, the second commandment of the Decalogue echoes. At first the doctor refuses to tell her his uncertain prognosis but he realizes that the unborn child’s life is at stake. In his memories he recalls his drama experienced by him during the war, when he lost all his family. All that has left is a photo of his family and crippled faith in God who, as he believes, is not Almighty, but merely a private divinity. Yet a hardly noticeable by anyone orderly in the hospital, played by Artur Barciś, recalls the Reality that is not the subject of human predictions and limitations. The final part of the second film of The Decalogue consists of two moving sequences: the first is a masterful utopia travelling taking the viewers from the solitude of the characters closed in the micro-worlds of their experiences and feelings to a hospital room, where in a glass of compote a bee is fighting for life, symbolically promising victory over death. The final scene has a clearly religious character: during a night conversation with the doctor Andrzej, who looks similar to dead Christ shown in a Renaissance painting by Andrea Mantegna, confesses that he ‘came back from beyond’. The ambiguity of the end – perhaps the talk with Andrzej is only a dream? – finds its explanation in the fifth and eighth parts of the cycle; nevertheless, it does not dispel some doubts.

  • Awards:
  • 1989 Venice Film Festival – Children and Cinema Award; FIPRESCI Prize
  • 1989 São Paulo International Film Festival – Critics Award
  • 1989 San Sebastián International Film Festival – OCIC Award - Honorable Mention
  • 1990 Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists – European Silver Ribbon
  • 1991 French Syndicate of Cinema Critics – Critics Award: Best Foreign Film
  • 1997 Chicago Film Critics Association Awards – Best Foreign Language Film
  • 2000 National Board of Review USA – Special Citation Outstanding Cinematic Series
  • 2016 Cannes Film Festival – Cannes Classic Selection and Presentation


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