A Poem for Krzysztof Kieslowski

Preface from the Author: If you do not know who Krzysztof Kieslowski is, he is a Polish filmmaker who made films in Poland and France mainly in the 80s and 90s before his untimely death at age 56 in 1996. In my opinion, and this is of course opinion, he is the greatest filmmaker who has ever lived, and a person cannot call themselves a film lover without viewing his movies. He is the reason I love cinema. And a poem is nowhere near what he deserves for the amazing things he has done for film. Thank you for reading.

A Poem for Krzysztof Kieslowski


In Warsaw, born amongst warfare and hurt,

lost in the chaos

and emotion;


free for seconds,

to live amongst life and see it all,

to study at Lodz and break through with short films;


spiteful glances at the Communist regime,

as moral anxiety furthered a growing trend,

realism at its most intense;


with a fellow Krzysztof he shot to glory,

writing stories, seeing it all for real, bringing

us down to the reality and scope of life;


his cinematic achievement,

the world in parts ten,

a decalogue of humanity, a desperate gasp for air;


while in the city square a woman sees herself from afar,

and wonders why we must be born into the world



our view of French life changed, fractured,

when the questionable truth to the flag is

sculpted in three;


an artist he was, and an artist, we see,

though he battled with AIDS and heart surgery,

his final triumph of films three,

France is the subject, life is the key,

resting amongst the greatest and smiling, he’ll be.


Posted on August 21, 2011, in Filmmakers, Movies, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. Christian Hallbeck

    Your enthusiasm regarding Kieslowski has had the effect that I’ve now rewatched Dekalog! (It’s been many years since I last saw it.) My favourite episode is number 2, followd by number 1, 8 and 5.

    Episode 2 is a true masterpiece of telling a story where nothing seemingly happens, but were everything that is sacred and important in life happens: the miracle of love and the respect for life.

    The ending of episode 8 is the one scene that took the longest time to leave me. I find it extremely thoughtful, moving and complex.

    The artistically best scene is the cracking of the ink bottle, the soundless floating of the ink over the papers, the ringing on the door, and the shy girls asking if Pawel is home… in episode 1. A very beautiful way of telling that Pawel is dying or has just died.

    I also can’t forget the sleeping girls gripping of the fathers finger in episode 7. The ending of this episode is perhaps the most painful scene in the entire Dekalog.

    Thanks for reminding me of these films!

    • You have highlighted some brilliant moments throughout the Dekalog; my favourite episodes are 5, 6, and 2.

      I’ve said this many times but I consider Dekalog to be the greatest cinematic achievement in film history, if it is possible for one to say that. It covers so many different areas and subjects of life, and it does so in a manner that I daresay is perfect. There is a review of it on my site somewhere (you can find it through the Review Archive).

      The only reason Dekalog is absent from my Top 100 is that it’s difficult and unfair to the other movies to consider the series of short films as one whole film. If it was fair to think of Dekalog as one movie, it would be my favourite film of all time, but it is not.

  2. Nice poem, Tyler! You are clearly an enthusiast of the great late Polish director Krzysztof Kieslowski. It’s good to know that there are more folks interested in the films of Kieslowski particularly since in the last few years there’s hardly been mention of his cinematographic achievements.

    Kieslowski was of course 54 when he died in 1996 and it was Derek Jarman, the director of the 1993 film ‘Blue’ (not the 1993 film, Three Colours Blue) who died in 1994 from a commonly occuring disease and one associated with an acquired immune deficiency (AIDS). Kieslowski on the other hand died unexpectedly after a scheduled heart-bypass operation in a Warsaw hospital on 13 March 1996 after suffering a heart attack the previous August. The mix up may have occured because of a reporter’s article in Hello magazine at the time.

    With the media and the internet as it is, sometimes things go down in history as ‘fact’ when it may not actually be the case. Take the common public understanding that the runner Zola Budd tripped up Mary Decker during the 1984 Olympic 3000 metres. Budd was booed by the crowd in the stadium all the way to the finish line and she later admitted that she slowed down to leave herself finishing seventh in the race. It was revealed that Decker had actually bumped into Budd twice earlier during the same race (albeit without her falling). After an exchange of letters over a year Budd and Decker reconciled their differences with Decker later admitting that part of the problem was that she was not experienced in running in such a tight group.

    Tyler, I have commented on your exchange with Ashley. I thought it very original to have an exchange of ideas about Kieslowski and then present it as an online conversation of thoughts. I enjoyed it! Well done!

    Please feel free to add yourself to my Guestbook, post a question to my Forum or chat with me or other enthusiasts about Kieslowski and his films using the Chat client on my website. All the best.

    Alexandre Fabbri

  3. I just noticed your post about Dekalog – just to mention that it was not really about 10 fixed commandments but rather 1 movie about a Warsaw housing estate and the people who lived on it and their interconnected (albeit unrecognized) relationships with each other, which movie was carved into 10 bits for showing to a predominantly Catholic audience on Sunday evenings on Polish State TV. The naming of the Dekalog was done in hindsight so that the audience might identify more readily with the stories conveyed, being aware as they were of the Catholic-ordered list of the Ten Commandments of Exodus. The idea of connections was later further developed by Kieslowski for The Double Life Of Veronique.


    • I always like to think of it as one film, but because the ten episodes are so diverse I find it difficult to class it as such. As a whole, I think it is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, cinematic achievements of all time. No hyperbole intended.

  4. I totally agree with you. The Dekalog series was made at a time when Kieslowski acutely felt the people he observed around him had become lost and suffered from a lack of references in their lives, not politically speaking but rather morally.

    • I definitely see what you mean, and you’re right. I’m extremely thankful for Kieslowski’s films; they’ve helped me to re-examine my place in the world and the effect my actions have; seeing the unfortunate (or fortunate) situations the characters put themselves in by making decisions… it’s just illustrated so effectively by Kieslowski that any other director’s attempt to demonstrate it seems like a rip-off. No one grasped humanity like Kieslowski. He had an eye and a mind for the people around him that no other filmmaker has ever possessed, and if they have, they’ve not shown it.

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