A SHORT FILM ABOUT LOVE (Krótki film o milosci) (director/writer: Krzysztof Kieslowski; screenwriter: Krzysztof Piesiewicz; cinematographer: Witold Adamek; editor: Ewa Smal; music: Zbigniew Preisner; cast: Olaf Lubaszenko (Tomek), Grazyna Szapolowska (Magda), Stefania Iwinska (Godmother); Runtime: 83; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Ryszard Chutkowski; Kino Video; 1988-Poland-in Polish with English subtitles)
“It’s an absolutely stunning film that blows you away with its droll humor and its uncovering of sublime emotional truths.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Lifted from one of the episodes in the famed European Dekalog TV miniseries (a reinterpretation of the Ten Commandments). It’s written and directed by one of the world’s great filmmakers, Poland’s late Krzysztof Kieslowski (“The Double Life of Veronique”/”Blue”/”Blind Chance”). Krzysztof Piesiewicz is the cowriter of this ironic seriocomedy that travels the same road as Hitchcock’s Rear Window and Powell’s Peeping Tom, but with a different conclusion about voyeurism, urban loneliness and repressed sexuality. It puts a challenge to the ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery’ biblical saying, as this quirky moralistic mind-bending tale about a modern day love story between two unlikely souls shows that alienation in society has made the world a cold materialistic place above all else.
Tomek (Olaf Lubaszenko) is a timid, loner, virginal 19-year-old postal worker who is an orphan and lives with the pleasant mother (Stefania Iwinska) of a friend in a nondescript Warsaw housing project hi-rise complex. When not studying languages, his hobby, he spies with an astronomical telescope he stole from a nearby school on an attractive and promiscuous slightly older attractive woman, Magda (Grazyna Szapolowska), who lives alone in an apartment opposite of his. He is obsessively in love with her, and to see her away from her apartment he resourcefully contrives to bring her down to the post office with bogus ‘you have a money order’ notifications and even takes a milkman’s job so he can deliver to her apartment early in the morning. When he fesses up to sending those notes and his voyeurism, the innocent lad and the cynical woman, who believes love is a fairy tale, come to a near-tragic relationship for him and one that brings redemption to her. After she seduces him and his botched suicide, she grieves over someone for perhaps the first time in her life and is recharged by a new spiritual attitude of caring for someone other than herself.
It’s an absolutely stunning film that blows you away with its droll humor and its uncovering of sublime emotional truths.REVIEWED ON 9/5/2007 GRADE: A
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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