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  • Writer's pictureCharles Cherney

80: Dekalog 7 - Kieślowski

I am working my way through watching again Dekalog (The Decalogue) - a 1989 Polish television drama series directed by Krzysztof Kieślowski. It consists of ten one-hour films, inspired by the Ten Commandments (the Decalogue). Each short film explores characters facing one or several moral or ethical dilemmas as they live in an austere housing project in 1980s Poland. Made for TV. And, as it happens, a masterpiece of world cinema. I first saw these at the Brattle Theatre in Harvard Square in the 1990s. It was time to revisit them, so I purchased the films on DVD.

For the most part, these ten one-hour films are dark and depressing. And absolutely wonderful. Really!

I recently watched Dekalog 7, an exploration of the commandment "Thou shall not steal."

Here is the Wikipedia summary of events prior ot the film: Ewa is the mother of 22-year-old Majka. She was unable to have any more children after Majka, although she would have liked to. She became head-mistress of a school where she hired a literature professor, Wojtek. Wojtek met and fell in love with then-16-year-old Majka, who got pregnant and had a daughter, Ania. However, due to the 'scandal' of it all, Majka was forced to pretend that Ania was actually her little sister rather than her daughter, and Wojtek avoided charges for seducing a minor by simply walking away.

Got all that? The film is about Majka's attempt to kidnap her own child Ania. Majka has just been expelled from university. She clearly is overlooked by her own parents. Wojtek, the father of her child Ania, is not overwhelmingly supportive of her. Even Ania doesn't really warm up to her. The character Ania is six years old. What a stunning performance by this child. This episode of the Dekalog is memorable mainly because of her. The last scene of the film, in which she runs after her mother on the train station platform, is deeply moving.


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