Polish director Krzysztof Kieślowski, creator of such masterpieces as Dekalog and the Three Colors Trilogy, is unquestionably one of cinema’s greats. This collection gives a picture of him at the very beginning, when he was learning his trade in documentary film. In these early documentary shorts, Kieślowski examines the society around him as seen from below – showing the ordinary men & women that lived in it. Films like From a Night Porter’s Point of View and Seven Women of Different Ages are not only masterpieces of human observation, but also classics of world cinema.
Pantaflix brings these films collected together for the 1st time in their new, restored version… and we couldn’t be more excited to share them.
Even these early films brought Kieślowski to the attention of the censor. Workers 71’: Nothing About Us Without Us was filmed across Poland and showed workers discussing the causes of the strikes the year before – but was heavily censored. Later, in Cirriculum Vitae, Kieślowski used documentary footage of the Politburo to tell the story of a committee of workers tearing itself apart.
The Factory shows the daily reality of a working day at a tractor factory on the outskirts of Warsaw – and the influence of this film can be felt in another more recent documentary film (also called Factory) by Ukrainian director Sergey Loznitsa. Refrain & Hospital – set in a funeral home & a hospital respectively – also show the machinations of Communist Polish bureaucracy.
Perhaps the signature style that Kieślowski developed in these early documentary shorts is the human portrait. A focus on the singularity of each individual in the communist system is seen is works such as From a Night Porter’s Point of View and I Don’t Know, this latter telling the story of a worker rebuilding his life after losing his job at a leather goods factory.