Pole Positions: An Indispensable Kieslowski Collection

Baby mama drama: Camera Buff
photo: Kino International
Baby mama drama: Camera Buff

August or no, here's a candidate for the year's best holiday gift box—six of Kieslowski's earlier features, fashioned before and outside the mega-constructs of The Decalogue and Trois Couleurs. Alongside the famously expanded Decalogue chapters A Short Film About Killing (1988) and A Short Film About Love (1988), there's Camera Buff (1979), the tragicomic morality tale about a complacent Communist whose 8mm habit begins to control and destroy the very life he seeks to capture "as it is"; Blind Chance (1981), Kieslowski's first game of ambiguous narrative crisscross and his only state-censored film, in which Boguslaw Linda lives out three differing futures depending on whether or not he catches a train to Warsaw; and No End (1985), a kind of study for Blue that has grieving widow Grazyna Szapolowska seek solace in the family of an imprisoned labor dissident. Perhaps best of all—because it's the most pragmatic—is K.K.'s first theatrical feature, The Scar (1976), a portrait of a factory project, the village it seeks to develop but instead decimates, and the project's appointed builder-director (Franciszek Pieczka), a modest humanist poisoned by the job from the inside out. The hours of supplements include six shorts (five by K.K., including his first ever film, 1966's The Office), trailers, and interviews with actors, cinematographers (Slawomir Idziak etc.), contemporaneous filmmakers, crew members, scholars, censors, and so on. Indispensable.

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