Dekalog 5: Thou Shalt Not Kill, courtesy of Janus Films

Dekalog 5 & 6

This masterwork by Krzysztof Kieslowski is one of the twentieth century’s greatest achievements in visual storytelling. Originally made for Polish television, The Dekalog focuses on the residents of a housing complex in late-Communist Poland, whose lives become subtly intertwined as they face emotional dilemmas that are at once deeply personal and universally human. Its ten hour-long films, drawing from the Ten Commandments for thematic inspiration and an overarching structure, grapple deftly with complex moral and existential questions concerning life, death, love, hate, truth, and the passage of time. Shot by nine different cinematographers, with stirring music by Zbigniew Preisner, The Dekalog explores the unknowable forces that shape our lives.

Thou Shalt Not Kill (Dekalog 5)
Dir. Krzysztof Kieslowski. 1988, 57 mins. Restored DCP. With Miroslaw Baka, Krzysztof Globisz, Jan Tesarz, Zbigniew Zapasiewicz, Barbra Dziekan-Wajda. After a youth randomly and brutally murders a taxi-driver, an idealistic young attorney is assigned to defend the murderer. Strikingly photographed by Slawomir Idziak and ingeniously conceived as a moral diptych with co-screenwriter Krzysztof Piesiewicz (there are no protracted courtroom scenes, no character psychology), Kieslowski’s masterpiece is shocking not only for the graphic brutality of both its murder and execution scenes, but for its daring condemnation of "crime in the name of the law.” Kieslowski expanded upon this episode for the feature A Short Film about Killing.

Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery (Dekalog 6)
Dir. Krzysztof Kieslowski. 1988. 58 mins. Restored DCP. With Grazyna Szapolowski, Olaf Lubaszenko, Stefania Iwinska, Artur Barcis. A sublime cinematic voyeur tale that stands alongside Rear Window and Peeping Tom, Kieslowski’s film follows a sensitive and guileless nineteen-year-old named Tomek who’s become obsessed with a beautiful woman living in the building opposite of his in their shared apartment complex. Watching her through a telescope, he grows jealous of the woman’s lover and sabotages their affair. When Tomek reveals his deceit and confesses his love, the woman initiates a cruel game of her own. Kieslowski expanded upon this episode for the feature A Short Film about Love.

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Dekalog Trailer