In which Poland?
In the mid-1980s, Krzysztof Kieślowski taught a directing class in West Germany. One day, a young German started to explain his political beliefs. Back then, the radical left groups, as RAF, were popular in the West and a young German was no exception to this. While listening, Krzysztof Kieślowski was smiling politely, but in his eyes were: «Fool, you live in a normal country!». Then the Director said the following: «Andreas, the politics is a dirty business. My only concern, only if there is enough toilet paper in the toilets».
Krzysztof Kieślowski was apolitical in his life and art. He never made politically charged cinema, never belonged to any political parties, clubs or movements. He shot films not for the sake of politics, but for the sake of people, or rather what unites them. That is why, in the socialistic Poland the Director was bullied by Communists and Opposition.
In 1984, at the first glance, Krzysztof Kieślowski changed his art model, by making a political film. If you dug deeper, behind the façade of a story about the death of a young and brave lawyer, who defended a political prisoner, lays a completely different story.
In «Bez konca», Krzysztof Kieślowski portrayed the Polish society during the rule of Wojciech Witold Jaruzelski. The Polish society portrayed as lost, disappointed and utterly pessimistic. The members of Solidarity portrayed as a crushed idealists, who are desperately trying neither to survive, neither to show the last case of obstruction. In this crushed country a tragedy of a widow starts out. She sees the shadows of her husband everywhere and nothing can help her to forget the past and continue life.
As in «Three colors: Blue», Krzysztof Kieślowski examines the question of personal, not political liberty though the history a widow. In these films, the Director asks us the following questions: can someone abandon the past and continue to live? Can suicide be interpreted as a choice of a free man and a way to escape the unbearable situation?
The other part of the film deals with a trial of a young factory worker, charged with organizing a strike. In this part steps out another important character – an old defense attorney Labrador, who takes the case after the death of Antek. The Director channels his thoughts through Labrador – if you didn’t choose death by facing the tanks during the introduction of the martial law, why are you trying to get executed now? Is it worth to fight for the sake of the crashed rebellion?
Almost every character is trying to build his imaginary life in Poland and to escape not-so-good reality. But if you try to escape reality though fantasy, the life would viciously attack you. Of course, if you read history, you would find a case to reproach the Director for extreme pessimism. But before doing that, check the release date and forgive the late Krzysztof Kieślowski. In 1984, no one couldn’t anticipate the crush of the Iron Curtain.
Before the late 1980s, Krzysztof Kieślowski was not too appreciated by snobbish western critics. His films were not accepted to the international film festivals, the Director was in a shadow of a more acclaimed Poles (as Andrzej Waida). Despite all of that snobbery, the films of Krzysztof Kieślowski have one unique trait – they are universal. Their universality means that the stories of those films are understandable for everyone. We can associate ourselves with heroes of his Polish and French films. And you can’t say the same about some films of more famous Poles.
After the success of Decalogue, the snobbish critics began their collective praise of Krzysztof Kieślowski. Let’s join them and watch the film of this great master, who, unfortunately passed away too soon.