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DECALOGUE 9 & 10, THE (aka: DEKALOG) (aka: THE TEN COMMANDMENTS) (Polish TV) (director/writer:Krzysztof Kieslowski; screenwriter: Krzysztof Piesiewicz; editor: Ewa Smal; music: Zbigniew Preisner; Runtime: 560; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Ryszard Chutkowski; Facets; 1989-Poland-in Polish with English subtitles)
“Brilliant and moving, a masterpiece about the fragility of human nature.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Polish director Krzysztof Kieslowski’s (“Blind Chance”/”A Short Film About Love”/”The Double Life of Veronique”) 10-hour Polish television serial based on The Ten Commandments. Kieslowski is cowriter with Krzysztof Piesiewicz. It’s brilliant and moving, a masterpiece about the fragility of human nature.

9-“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife.”

cinematographer: Piotr Sobocinski; Runtime: 58; cast: Ewa Blaszczyk (Hanka), Piotr Machalica (Roman Nycz), Artur Barcis (Young Man), Jan Jankowski (Mariusz).

A once promiscuous surgeon Roman (Piotr Machalica) is told by his doctor friend after an exam that he’s chronically impotent. He then lets his attractive airport-receptionist wife Hanka (Ewa Blaszczyk) know that it’s alright to take a lover. But he’s soon overcome with jealousy and spies on her. He learns of her affair with a young physicist named Mariusz (Jan Jankowski), but is unaware that she’s broken off the relationship. This leads to an attempted suicide for the crest-fallen husband, who doesn’t realize how much his wife loves him and still wants him despite no sex.

It’s a complex adult look at how marriage and love can be such a rough road to traverse at times, and how trust is essential.

10-Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods.”

cinematographer: Jacek Blawut; Runtime: 57; cast: Jerzy Stuhr (Jerzy), Zbigniew Zamachowski (Artur), Henryk Bista (Shopkeeper).

This is a black comedy offering a life lesson on how coming into an unexpected fortune might be a more destructive than a positive thing. The death of their estranged athletic reclusive widowed father, finds his struggling sons surprised at their rich inheritance (worth tens of millions zlotys). The married with a child conservative middle-aged Jerzy (Jerzy Stuhr), the oldest son, and his single estranged carefree twentysomething brother Artur (Zbigniew Zamachowski), a singer in a punk rock group called “City Death,” visit after the funeral dad’s dumpy flat protected by a steel door and discover he left behind big debts and a priceless stamp collection to the sons he ignored.

The struggling simple-minded brothers soon get involved with the crooked stamp collecting shop owner (Henryk Bista), someone who is way to cunning for these two lightweights, who proposes a bizarre deal: that he will give the brothers the missing stolen rare stamp from the Austrian rose Mercury series that their father most wanted but was unable to locate and Jerzy will donate his kidney to the shop owner’s ailing daughter. After Jerzy agrees and is in the hospital, their place gets robbed despite their upgraded security of an alarm system, window bars and a Rottweiler guard dog. The brothers, who suddenly became greedy because of their inheritance, are devastated to learn that their entire stamp collection is pinched and become increasingly paranoid that the other stole it.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”