Friday, 27 May 2011


This isn’t fair. Dekalog is not a film, it is a television series. Originally made for Polish TV in 1987, Dekalog is a set of ten hour long episodes, each based, occasionally so loosely that the basis is unrecognisable, on each of the ten commandments. I’m sorry, but to qualify being featured in a book called 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, I think one of the predominant criteria should be that you are in fact a movie. If the conditions are so lax as to allow this television series, why not others? Band of Brothers was pretty damn good, as was Firefly. Arrested Development revolutionised the modern sitcom, I Love Lucy infamously first utilised the multi-camera setup and the Cosby Show was the first to star a famous stand-up comedian. Hell, why not all 86 episodes of the Sopranos or 156 of the West Wing?
Anyway, the list is more important than my own prejudices and opinions, so as much as I may disagree with its inclusion it must still be watched. Revolving around the inhabitants of a Warsam apartment block, Dekalog revels in the minutiae of everyday life, with little extraordinary occurring throughout the series. Each segment generally features a single, straightforward plot strand, such as a man abandoning his family on Christmas Eve to assist a former lover look for her current partner, a girl’s curiosity getting the better of her when she sees a note to be opened only after her father’s death, a peeping tom forming a relationship with the object of his voyeurism and two brothers inheriting their father’s extensive and valuable stamp collection.
Many of the plots are only partially concluded, hinting at what the characters plan to do next, but most were not too interesting, and did not deal with themes I found worthy of a short film. I did chuckle at the film being positioned opposite another skyscraper set feature within the aforementioned book, yet possibly its polar opposite in terms of entertainment, Die Hard.
Choose life 4/10

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