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Camera Buff – 1979 Kieslowski
- Kieslowski’s second feature- a superior character study- a parable of a simple man’s obsession
- Kieslowski really had about a 20 year career- his first feature was 1976- and passed away at far too young an age (54) in 1996
- Two outright nods to the work of Ken Loach- the opening metaphor of hawk killing a chicken (from Kes) and then the lead here is flipping through a film studies book and you can clearly see Loach and Kes on the page. Social/political realism.
- Very early on we see his camera sweeping in on Jerzy Stuhr’s Filip Mosz character when he finds out he swells with pride telling others he has a baby girl
- This is a parable with certainly religious undertones—he literally says he has everything he ever wanted early in the film— famous last words as it turns out.
- The subject matter is heavy, but there are some highly comedic scenes- watching Stuhr whizzing around with his camera right on top of people is funny (and meant to be) as is him making the little frame with his fingers like you see directors make (above)—haha. Once he does it looking out of the train at the landscape, and the other at his wife as she walks away from him during a fight
- Some critics have mentioned the possible self-indulgence of Kieslowski making his character here interested in cinema and filmmaking—but for the most part it could be anything that he becomes fanatical about and rises to great success.
- It isn’t as heavy a focus as green in The Scar or certainly his color trilogy in the early 1990’s but brown is the color of choice here. Sweaters, the couch, robe, the blanket over a woman taken to the hospital. In one scene there are four characters all in brown shirts standing around talking
- An intentional scene with Mosz negotiating with his producer on what goes in the film and what gets cut out—certainly a personal statement from Kieslowski
- This isn’t a case of an evil madman who is monomaniacal like There Will Be Blood or something—Mosz is largely a sympathetic figure. His passion for film is palatable. His direct boss (Mosz film got him fired) tells him to press on and that his passion/talent is important.
- strong ending- he’s told one minute “I told you you’d go far” and is a big success and the subject of his film, the worker, tells him what he’s doing is “beautiful” and it is a genuinely moving scene—but the film ends with him alone in his messy apartment, no wife, no family, and then he turns the camera on himself and talks about how one year ago he was taking his wife to the hospital for his daughter’s birth
- recommend but not in the top 10 of 1979