Decalogue, Ten

Decalogue X

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. 

Jerzy and Artur meet at the funeral of their father, a stamp collector devoted entirely to his passion (he appears in The Decalogue, Eight with his stamp Polarfahrt). Their father had not had a good relationship with them and only after he passed away they find out that the collection he had gathered for many years is very valuable. The inherited wealth begins to spoil their relations: Jerzy decides to donate his kidney in exchange for one stamp missing for an incomplete series. Unfortunately, during his operation their father’s flat is broken into and burglarized. The brothers become suspicious of former friends of his father but also of each other. The last film of the cycle differs from earlier parts of The Decalogue in almost all aspects: it is a black comedy, not a drama. This time Artur Barciś who accompanies main characters in crucial moments does not appear. Maybe because his role was taken over by Tomek from the sixth episode who serves the brothers at the post office and sells them ordinary stamps? The beginning of the film is also different: Artur stands on the stage and shouts the lyrics: ‘Kill, kill, and kill! Commit adultery, covet things all the week!’ The call for breaking the commandments to which importance Kieślowski’s cycle is devoted turns out to be heavy irony. The Decalogue, Ten being a masterful summary shows a violation of almost all commandments: not only coveting things, the ‘disease’ contracted by the sons from their deceased father, but also theft, adultery, an indifferent attitude towards family, and disrespect of God. In the final humiliation of the characters watched by the director with pity, there is still hope.

  • 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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