Kieslowski. I’ll be the first to admit I still have some work to do on Kieslowski’s work in the late 70’s and early to mid-80’s. His strengths here are his brilliant 572-minute top 10 of the 1980’s masterpiece Dekalog and his Blue/White/Red trilogy. These are staggering works. Like many others on this list he died really young (55). I will say that Red has faded on me a little over the years. It used to be a film I had in my top 10 of the 1990’s and I no longer think that to be the case- but I’m overdue for a revisit.

Best film:  Dekalog. Individually they are fantastic but together they make for one of the most important and best films of the 1980’s.

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this from Dekalog is Antonioni- you could trace the door down the middle to the window in the shot looking out the window from The Double Life of Veronique below

total archiveable films: 10

top 100 films: 1

top 500 films: 3 (Dekalog, Blue, Red)

top 100 films of the decade: 4 (Dekalog, Blue, Red, The Double Life of Veronique)

most overrated:   The Double Life of Veronique- #360 all-time on TSPDT and I didn’t find it to be any higher than a HR. I’ve only seen it once though which seems really insufficient for any director as deliberate in his approach to formal cinema as Kieslowski is.

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most underrated:  Red and Blue are two films I’m slightly higher on than the TSPDT consensus. For Red I’m at 198 and “they” have it at #261. For Blue I’m at #165 and TSPDT at #269. However, TSPDT is notorious for being slow to most newer films into the top 100 so #261 and #269 for films that came out in the 90’s are pretty impressive.

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gem I want to spotlight:  Blue. For years I’ve had Red as the stronger but I think blue is the more vibrant visual film and if forced to now, I’d give it the edge for that reason.

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stylistic innovations/traits:     Kieslowski is known for his rigorous moral and philosophical discussion but I also love his theme of interconnectedness (certainly influences Magnolia and Iñárritu amongst others) and fate (Coen brothers) His photography is luminously beautiful and his work in believable color production design amongst the greatest in the artform’s history.  

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top 10

  1. Dekalog
  2. Blue
  3. Red
  4. The Double Life of Veronique
  5. A Short Film about Killing
  6. White
  7. No End
  8. A Short Film About Love
  9. Blind Chance
  10. Camera Buff

By year and grades

1979- Camera Buff
1982- Blind Chance
1984- No End
1988- A Short Film About Killing
1988- A Short Film About Love
1989- Dekalog MP
1991- The Double Life of Veronique HR
1993- Blue MP
1994- Red MP
1994- White R

*MP is Masterpiece- top 1-3 quality of the year film

MS is Must-see- top 5-6 quality of the year film

HR is Highly Recommend- top 10 quality of the year film

R is Recommend- outside the top 10 of the year quality film but still in the archives