Dir: Krzysztof Kieslowski
73 min., 35mm, 1:1.37, Color
Produktion: Filmgruppe ,TOR' für das polnische Fernsehen, PolTel. Buch: Hanna Krall. Kamera: Krzysztof Pakulski. Ausstattung: Rafal Waltenberger. Musik: Jan Kanty Pawluskiewicz. Ton: Michal Zarnecki. Schnitt: Elzbieta Kurkowska.
Darsteller: Waclaw Ulewicz (Parteisekretär), Lech Grzmocinski, Tadeusz Bartosik, Elzbieta Kijowska, Marek Kepinski, Pawel Nowisz, Barbara Dziekan, Marian Gancza u.a.
Uraufführung: 26. Juni 1996, Telewizja Polska, S.A.
Weltvertrieb: Telewizja Polska S.A., 17 Woronicza Str. 00-999 Warschau, Polen P-35, Tel.: (48-22) 6478189, Fax: (48-22) 440206
Fri 14.02. 12:30 Arsenal Sat 15.02. 12:00 Akademie der Künste
The film reconstructs the fate of a Polish party secretary and follows his political career during the crisis years between 1968 and 1981.
March 1968: Student unrest in Poland. The secretary condemns the student movement using the usual party jargon.
1975: The secretary is nominated as First Party Secretary of the district of Radom.
1981: The Solidarity Union, legal opposition to the government for the past year, demands an explanation from the Secretary for the violent events in Radom in 1976. He makes a public statement on television, beginning with the following words: "It was a sunny morning on June 25th, 1976...
... President Jaroszewicz has announced radical price increases for food. At Radom's party headquarters telephones ring continuously on the secretary's desk: in some companies workers have begun a strike, they hold protest meetings in factories; workers have gone into the streets, demanding a stop to price increases, shouting in unison, a large crowd of protesters approach the party building...
The building of the party committee is surrounded. A Chorus of voices. The secretary believes himself to be in control, delegates one of his ,apparatschiks' to call the protesters to order. The latter approaches the workers in the old party style. He screams at them, threatens them. They beat him up. The secretary now has to save face and talk to the workers himself.
He promises to send their demands per telephone to the central committee in Warsaw. The workers don't trust him and send along three of their delegates.
The central committee is astonished by what the Secretary has to say. The secretary hangs up the phone. He has kept his promise. The workers, however, don't disperse. They want an answer. The secretary promises to deliver an answer in two hours.
The clock is ticking, the workers remain quiet, for the time being. (...)
A friend, a police officer dressed in civilian clothes, who, as a representative of the security forces holds back and is not part of the situation, escorts the secretary out of the building, using a back door. An ambulance is waiting for him. He leaves the city of Radom unrecognized.
The secretary's report is interwoven with short scenes which feature the workers during their law suits, about the activities of the security forces who beat the workers with sticks. It shows help for families of persecuted people, about workers in prison, about Gierek's violent politics against the protesters of Radom, and finally, about the legitimization of the Solidarity Union in 1980, headed by Lech Walesa.
Back to the year 1981: The secretary ends his report. He has nothing he could reproach himself for. He is convinced he acted correctly. He refuses reproaches by the Solidarity Union, he has a clear conscience...
Krzysztof Kieslovski made this film a few months before the declaration of a state of war in Poland in 1981. The film has never been shown anywhere, not even in Poland.
Kieslovski was a chronicler of his time in all his films. His heroes were always the product of their times. Already in his short films such as Factory, Hospital a.o. Kieslovski was a keen observer of the educational products of his society, the prototypes of social and political structures. This thought runs through all his feature films and is particularly present in the Decalogue and in his observance of people he characterizes as representatives or victims of social and moral structures.
In WIDOK Z OKNA / KROTKI DZIEN PRACY Kieslovski observes a person who is a product of his time and a prototype of the political government agent: communist party secretary in the city of Radom. Kieslovski observes him with a distant gaze through the ,glass' of his camera, and letting him shed gradually the investitures of power. This man's name is never mentioned in the film, he is the prototype of a political agent because he feels powerful in his position, and is afraid of losing this power. He is neither heroically courageous nor a coward. He is not particularly clever, but he isn't stupid, either. He works, acts, thinks according to criteria learnt by heart. He is the product of the politics of a specific time and quite capable of adjusting his political opinions. He is neither repulsive nor particularly sympathetic. He is a person like any other.
Kieslovski gave the film the preliminary title WIDOK Z OKNA (View from the window). It is an apt title, since it illustrates the secretary's location: a panoramic view of ,his' city through the windows of his office. The same windows imprison him, similar to the goldfish which he keeps in an aquarium in his office.
It is understandable that the film was banned during the state of civil war in Poland, considering that it depicted contemporary history. Kieslovski wrote in the title sequence that the film was based on real events, but that the protagonists were fictional people. In reality Kieslovski had completed a lot of research before making the film in 1981. The unnamed party secretary really did exist, possibly still working somewhere in some capacity.
During the Walesa era the film wouldn't have found much of an audience. The central figure isn't portrayed negatively enough. Kieslovski wasn't particularly keen to see the film in the cinemas either. He had reached a high point in his filmmaking career and preferred problems more complex than offered by a fragmentary chronicle of times past. Perhaps he wanted to avoid discussions which the film undoubtedly would have initiated in Poland, because the world press had characterized the rebellion of 25th June 1976 as a sign of times to come.
The fact is that Kieslovski has created this portrait of a specific time with much courage, where he not only proves to be a chronicler, but also a humanist, who understands and accepts the complexity of the human psyche. (Elisabeth Scotti)
Krysztof Kieslovski was born on June 27th, 1941 in Warsaw. In 1969 he graduated from the Polish film and theater school (PWSTiF) in Lódz. He began filming documentaries for Polish television as a student. After graduation he joined the documentary film studio Warsaw as a director where he made his feature films. From 1979 to 1982 he worked as a lecturer at the faculty for radio and television at the Silesian University of Katowice. From 1978 to 1981 he was vice-president of the Polish Filmmaker's Association. Krysztof Kieslowski died in Warsaw on March 13th, 1996.
1967: Urzad (Das Amt), Hochschulfilm. 1968: Zdjecie (Die Filmaufnahme). 1969: Z miasta Lodzi (Aus der Stadt Lodz).1970: Bylem zolnierem (Ich war Soldat); Przed rajdem (Vor dem Rennen); Fabryka (Die Fabrik). 1971: Gospodarze (Die Herren), Co-Regie. 1972: Miedzy Wroclawiem a Zielona Góra (Zwischen Wroclaw und Zielona Góra); Podstawy BHP w kopalni miedzi (Die Hygiene- und Arbeitsschutzbasis in einer Kupfermine); Refren (Der Refrain); Robotnicy 71 - nic o nas bez nas (Arbeiter 71 - Nichts über uns ohne uns), 2. Fassung von Gospodarze (Die Herren). 1973: Murarz (Die Maurer); Dziecko (Das Kind); Przeswietenie (Durchleuchtung). 1974: Pierwsza milósc (Die erste Liebe); Przejscie podziemne (unterirdischer Durchgang). 1975: Zyciorys (Lebensbeschreibung); Personel (Personal). 1976: Klaps (Der Klaps); Szpital (Das Krankenhaus); Spokój (Die Ruhe, Forum 1981); BLizna (Die Narbe, Forum 1978). 1977: Nie wiem (Ich weiß nicht); Z punktu widzenia nocnego portiera (Aus der Sicht eines Nachtwächters). 1978: Siedem kobiet w róznym wieku (Sieben Frauen unterschiedlichenAlters). 1979: Amator (Der Amateur, Forum 1980). 1980: Dworzec (Der Bahnhof); Gadajace glowy (Redende Köpfe). 1981: Przypadek (Der Zufall). 1982: KROTKI DZIEN PRACY (Ein kurzer Arbeitstag). 1985: Bez konca (Ohne Ende).1988: Krótki film o zabijaniu (Kurzer Film über das Töten); Krótki film o milosci (Kurzer Film über die Liebe, Forum 1989); Dekalog. 1991: La double vie de Véronique (Die zwei Leben der Veronika). 1993: Trois couleurs: bleue (Die drei Farben: blau); Trois couleurs: blanc (Die drei Farben: weiß). 1994: Trois couleurs: rouge (Die drei Farben: rot).
© 1997 by International Forum of New Cinema. All rights reserved.