I watched Blue last week. And White. And Double life of Veronique.
I was left depressed by White. I had watched ‘Red’ first (Yeah, I know). So I made the wrong assumption that Keislowski is essentially an optimist at heart. But ‘White’ brought out the pessimist in Kieslowski. In the end, it left me disturbed the way ‘One flew over the cuckoo’s nest’ did. There is no redemption in either.
I felt Tadeusz Miczka reached closest to the truth in his appraisal of Kieslowski:
“In Kieślowski's opinion there is neither liberty nor equality in the world. Nevertheless, mankind should try to make those ideas unforgettable and he should even try to find a way towards them. That is why the films, … reflected the reality full of axiologic confusion, where new values can be created only by means of individual attitudes. And this is the reason why the symbolism of colours in the title was filled with ambiguity”
He was shaped by his experiences in communist Poland in which he grew up where you could try to make life incrementally better, but you could never completely escape the shackles of communism. The post communist Poland in which Kieslowski died was also deeply corrupt. Kieslowski talking about himself,
“I've got one pretty good virtue which is my pessimism. That's why anything I can see is black. Really anything. The future for instance is for me you know, like a black hole. If I am ever afraid of anything I am afraid of the future... The place I am in is a bit better than the one I should be in. I was given a better place to live, you know, I sit in a better row than I really deserve."
Yet, he seemed to had been a deeply moral man, who was tormented by his responsibilities to his viewers:
“…..Any conversation involves a certain kind of responsibility on the part of the interlocutors. But let's not blow this up. It's still only conversation, exchanging ideas or impressions or emotions. The result is either getting a man wiser or dumber. And that's the whole responsibility. Nothing more. I at least cannot point any better. I know, some people are convinced that arts and culture are responsible for a nation's condition or society's mentality. But I don't accept this idea, I don't feel I am responsible for anything on such levels. [...] I simply don't feel like improving or influencing anyone, shaping or pushing in a certain direction. But I know it isn't possible in all respects for we always influence the others And this is maybe one of the reasons why I gave up making documentary films some time ago and now I give up making any films at all. [...] In a document this is the question of your responsibility for how much you influence the others. If you had a camera, especially in the old political days, you were peculiarly responsible for a man you directed your camera at. [ ] And besides -- everything I really think is a most important in a lifetime is much too private to make films about. It can't be filmed. And I escaped documentary films.”
I also loved Preisner’s score for Blue. (He has a personal site here)
Incidentally, Tom Tykwer (the director of ‘Run Lola Run and apparently one of Europe’s hottest properties right now) was chosen to direct the movie ‘Heaven’ (based on the screenplay left behind by Kieslowski). I loved ‘Run, Lola Run’. But, I feel that Tykwer’s movie persona is entirely different from that of Kieslowski. I am sure he has made a royal hash of it. But with Kate Winslet in it, how bad can it get?
Don’t be surprised if I subject you again to another Kieslowski rant in a few months.