Decalogue, Nine

Decalogue IX

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. 

Two unsuccessful suicide attempts and Artur Barciś looking at them open and close the episode, in which the main character, a cardiologist, cannot accept the fact that his friend, a sexologist diagnosed him with permanent incurable impotency. Roman’s wife convinces him that love does not mean only sex, but he suggests that she should feel released from her marriage fidelity oath. The crisis begins when Roman discovers that Hanka has had an affair with Mariusz, a much younger lover for a long time. The reference to the commandments of the Decalogue, so unambiguous in Kieślowski’s films is shown here in a surprising way: Hanka is an object of desire of her husband and Mariusz. The test the couple’s love is put to leads finally to its purification. The last but one episode reveals also the working method of Kieślowski and Piesiewicz who allow the ideas to mature: individual films, being closed narrative units are linked and refer to each other. Roman features in the sixth part of Kieślowski’s cycle: Tomek delivering milk in the morning meets him in the gate of the block of flats – they both experienced difficult love. For a moment we can see Ania from the seventh part. A musical theme introduced by a young singer waiting for cardiac surgery reminding the character from The Double Life of Veronique (1991) is very interesting. It was her who inspires Roman to listen to and enjoy the music of Van den Budenmayer, whose composition (Nymphea) opens subsequent parts of The Decalogue. A Dutch composer, a fictitious character (the music was composed by Zbigniew Preisner) returns in The Double Life of Veronique and Three Colours.

  • 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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