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.
opening sequence presents both characters setting the scene for a drama that
would take place between them: a window glass that separates them, they are of
different ages and social status; all that they can do is watching and being
watched. In a precise structure of the sixth film of The Decalogue three parts, most of the same length, can be
distinguished: in the first the woman is seen from Tomek’s viewpoint, separated
by window glasses and the lens of a telescope, only seemingly coming closer.
The middle part consists of their meetings: a love-struck young man confesses
to his spying on her, tells her he loves her but he expects nothing. The third
part is shown from the point of view of the woman: now she starts to search for
the young man and discovers that love which is not equal only to physiological
satisfaction exists. The film, if watched carelessly, may seem to be just a
story about a peeper: however, it is worth noticing how Tomek does not look at
his attractive neighbour. Only a few minutes before the end we learn her name:
Magda (Magdalene), referring to the established culturally stereotype of a
sinful woman. In the Gospel she became a reformed woman that changed due to the
meeting with Christ; in Kieślowski’s film, the transformation of Magda takes
place thanks to Tomek and his unselfish love. The film emphasises it using the
symbols taken from the Gospel: a price paid by Tomek for Magda’s liberation is
climbing the Golgotha with a company of a man wearing a white coat (Artur
Barciś). A Short Film About Love, a feature version of The Decalogue, Six is
even more obvious and finishes more optimistically.