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A SHORT FILM ABOUT KILLING

Director: KRZYSZTOF KIESLOWSKI

84 minutes| Poland| 1987| Subtitled| Colour| 35mm


An expansion of episode five from Krzysztof Kieslowski’s celebrated Dekalog TV series, this is one of the most powerful films ever made about capital punishment. A listless young drifter prowls around contemporary Warsaw and indulges in a seemingly senseless act of violence by strangling and bludgeoning a taxi driver to death. In the film’s second act, a green young lawyer tries in vain to stave off the murderer’s execution. Unlike most anti-capital punishment movies, A Short Film never resorts to sensationalism or an appeal to the audience’s emotions. Both killings are shown in the same gruesome yet clinically detached detail, suggesting that execution by the state is merely a legalised form of murder. The moral and ethical issues are presented through the lawyer’s discussions with his peers, but the effectiveness of the film has more to do with what it shows. Kieslowski surpasses all previous attempts to capture the horrors of killing, in part through the use of sickly green and yellow images.<

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