Documentary Aspects on Kieslowski Fiction

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Studieelement/Modul (Study Element/Module) 47790313-01/ Module 3 (f. eks. 47790316 Modul 4: Skriftlig formidling) Emne (Subject) : Between Documentary and Fiction (f. eks. Japansk Film) Er opgaven fortrolig (s? t kryds) JA___ (Is the essay confidential? ) (mark) Studieordning (s? t kryds): (Curriculum) (mark) : NEJ X (Yes) EKSAMINATOR: Arild Fetveit (Examiner) (No) __ Anden studieordning: _________________________ __Gymnasierettet Kandidattilvalg 2008-ordningen __Grundudd. i Film- og Medievidenskab 2005 – eller 2012__ __BA-tilvalg i Medier og Kultur, Tv? Hum. 2007 __Gymnasierettet tilvalg i Film- og medievidenskab 2007 __Enkeltstaende tilvalg i Film- og Medievidenskab 2007 (Curriculum for Elective Studies in Film and Media Studies 2007) __Kandidatuddannelsen i Filmvidenskab 2008 (Curriculum for the Master’s Programme in Film Studies) x__Kandidatuddannelsen I Medievidenskab 2008 (Curriculum for the Master’s Programme in Media Studies) __Master i Cross Media Communication __Tv? rhumanistisk Tilvalgsfag i Digital Kommunikation og ? stetik 2007 Dato og ar 1. 01. 013 Date and year DOCUMENTARY ASPECTS ON KIESLOWSKI? S FICTION ABSTRACT This paper examines different concepts of documentary and the influence of documentary dispositions on Kieslowski? s fiction that might be found by analysing his selected feature films. Different definitions of documentary in cinema created by various critics and cinematographers will guide the discussions of the ways in which Kieslowski comments on filmmaking, particularly how his fiction might carry the echo of reality which is recorded by documentaries.
The paper is an attempt of describing the pattern, where realism is a dominant factor that might create an illusion of reality. This project is important to provide the theory about documentary aspects on Kieslowski? s fiction in order to find similarities and connections between two genres of film that are on the opposite poles. The study provides the unit of analysis about which the information were collected in order to create an understanding of the context. The assignment has got theoretical dimension and analyses.
KEYWORDS: documentary, fiction, film studies, Kieslowski, realism, representation Before starting evaluate documentary as a form of film, it is necessary to replay on fundamental questions: what is a film? ; and how film can be understand? The elementary definition of film says that film is a story or event recorded by a camera as a set of moving images and shown in a cinema or on television. ”1 Furthermore, it is a medium and an art and a very complex technology undertaking . 2 Film belongs both to recording media and representative media.
The spectrum of film looks like: -the performance art, which happen in real time -the representational art, which depends on the established codes and conventions of language – the recording art, which provides a more direct path between subject and observer: media not without their own codes but qualitatively more direct than the media of representational arts. 3 1 2 www. oxforddictionaries. com James Monaco, “ How to read a film”, 3rd Edition, Oxford University Press, 2000, p. 17 3 Inbid. ,p. 27 Every film contains a range of various messages, which are not always apparent.
However, by analysing film, messages can be discovered. Film makes absence presence. Moreover, the special techniques of film-the concentrated close-up-and the special qualities of film projection, make intimate experience of face as the sole, cause impression of living reality. 4 DOCUMENTARY John Grierson, a father of documentary used the phrase “documentary value” in reviewing Robert Flaherty? s “Moana” in 1926 for a New York newspaper. It was the first occasion on which the word “documentary” was applied in English language, to this specific kind of film. In English language, the adjective “documentary” was invited quite late as in 1802 with the modern meaning of its source word “document” as something written, which carry evidence or information. The contemporary use of “document” still carries the connotation of evidence. Besides, from the beginning of documentary, a photograph was received as a document and therefore as an evidence. 6 Documentary film has begun in the last years of the IXX century. It seems that, its beginning had many faces, as for some scholars the first documentary was “ Nanook of the North” (1922) about Eskimo life ; some claimed that it was Joris Ivens? “ Rain” ( 1929) a story about a rainy day; for another “ Man with a Movie Camera” (1929) made by Dziga Vertov. 7 So what is a documentary then? A simple answer might be that is a movie about real life. However, it sounds to be too simplified, as there is not such a real life, as a camera can see just a part of real, just a small piece. Irritating are arguments that the camera is a window of world. On which worldthe question is rising? The camera can see just a part of the world, the part of real, the part of life.
As a result, it could be said, that documentary movie does its best to represent a part of real life and it does not manipulate about it. 4 Philp Simpson, Andrew Uttern and K. J. Shepherdson, “Film Theory. Critical Concepts in Media and Cultural Studies”, Routledge, London, 2004, p. 70 5 Brian Winston, “Claiming the real. The Griersonian Documentary and Its Legitimations”, British Film Institute, 1995, p. 8 6 Inbid, p. 11 7 Patricia Aufderheide, “ Defining the Documentary” in “ Documentary Film. A very short introduction”, Patricia Aufderheide, Oxford University Press, New Your 2007, p. In other words, it could be said that “documentary is defined and redefined over the course of time, both by makers and by viewers. Viewers certainly shape the meaning of any documentary, by combing our own knowledge of and interest in the world with how film-maker shows it to us. ”8 From another point of view, Plantiga claims that documentaries are moving picture texts of affairs represented in the world hold in actual world. Sobchack claims that documentary is a subjective relationship to a cinematic object.
Patricia Aufderheide arguments in documentaries, “we expect to be told things about the real world, things that are true (…) we expect that a documentary will be a fair and honest representation of somebody? s experience of reality”. 9 Additionally, she points out “the truthfulness, accuracy, and trustworthiness of documentaries are important to us all because we value them precisely uniquely for these qualities. ” 10 According to Eric Barnouw “some documentaries claim to be objective-a term that seems to renounce an interpretative role.
The claim may be strategic, but it is surely meaningless. The documentarist, like any communicator in any medium, makes endless choices. He selects topics, people, angels, lens (…). Each selection is an expression of his point of view. ”11 John Grierson defined documentary as the “autistic representation of actuality” 12, additionally as “the creative treatment of actuality”. 13 It seems that, by using the term “creative treatment”, he meant that the documentary go beyond simple recording of reality, as documentary is fulfilled by sort of material creatively.
It could be said that, documentary is based an authentic recordings with realist tendency, construct on fascination with a visible evidence. The evident share about the discussion of documentary has got Bill Nichols. He arguments that the documentary tradition relies on being able to conduct the impression of reality, “(… ) a powerful impression. It began with the raw cinematic image and the appearance of movement: no matter how poor the image and how different from the thing photographed, the appearance of movement remained indistinguishable from actual movement. 14 Nichols claims, filmmakers often use in documentary modes of representation, in aim to make questions that are directly depend on historical world, narrative has existed in every known human 8 9 Inbid. ,. 2 Patricia Aufderheide, “ Defining the Documentary” in “ Documentary Film. A very short introduction”, Oxford University Press, New Yor k, 2007, p. 3 10 Inbid. , p. 4 11 Stella Bruzzi,“ Introduction” in “ New Documentary. A Critical Introduction”, Routledge, London, 2000, p. 4 12 Patricia Aufderheide , “Defining the Documentary” in “Documentary Film .
A very short introduction ”, Oxford University Press, New York, 2007, p. 3 13 Brian Winston,“ Claiming the real. The Griersonian Documentary and Its Legitimations”, British Film Institute 1995, p. 11 14 Bill Nichols, “ Introduction to Documentary”, Indiana University Press, 2001, p. XIII society. 15Moreover, Nichols offers the theory that describes every film as documentary. Even the most fantastic fiction, as it gives evidence of the culture that is reproduced of the people who perform within. As well, he divides documentaries on two kinds: (1) documentaries of wish- fulfilment nd (2) documentaries of social representation. 16 Documentaries of wish- fulfilment are on the shape of fictions, that give expression of people? s dreams and wishes and a sense what people wish, or fear, reality might be or might become. And documentaries of social representation are non-fiction that make the stuff of social reality visible and give representation to aspects of the shared world. Moreover, they deliver a sense of what might be understand as reality, of what is now, or what might become. Documentaries of social representation offer ideas on common world to explore and understand it. Documentaries offer the sensuous experience of sounds and images organized in such a way, they come to stand for something more than mere passing impressions: they come to stand for qualities and concepts of a more abstract nature. ”17 15 16 Edward Branigan, “Narrative, Comprehension and Film”, Routledge, London, 1992, p. 1 Bill Nichols, “ Introduction to Documentary”, Indiana University Press, 2001, p. 1 17 Inbod. , p. 65 According to Nichols, every documentary has its own distinct voice that has got a style. In order to analyse those styles, he provides a typology that enables various modes of documentary.
He identified six modes of representation that function as like sub-genres of the documentary as genre itself. These six modes are: the expository mode- emphasizes verbal commentary and argumentative logic, has got more rhetorical and argumentative frame, addresses the viewer directly often with a narrator-voice over commentary (a voice of God, voice of authority) the poetic mode- is more subjective with artistic expression that moves away from objective reality of a given subject, situation or people to take at inner “ truth” can be possessed by poetical manipulation, characters are with psychological complexity he observational mode- coming close as it possible to objective reality, observation of what happens in front of camera and recording it, the filmmakers takes a position of observer and makes impression of not intruding on the behaviour of characters the participatory mode- direct engagement between a filmmaker and subject, the filmmaker becomes a part of the recorded event using the methods of anthropology of going into the field the reflexive mode- increases awareness of the sample of representation in film that shows not just historical world, but also the problems and issues that call into questions.
It is the most selfconscious and self-questioning mode of representation the performative mode- direct engagement between a filmmaker and subject, the filmmaker as a participant Presented above modes are well knew in a documentary discussion. However, the critic with Stella Bruzzi towards them, it seems to be well argumentative. She criticises Nichols for suggesting that filmmakers doing documentaries, aim for the ‘perfect representation of the real? and that would fail in this impossible aim as all types of documenters exist at different time.
Moreover, his typology of modes seems to be quite weak, cause documentaries very often has got mixed styles of modes. There is not such a one mode for one movie. As the result, the question of necessity labelling documentary on modes, arises. Documentary might be also defined as an organised arrangement of images that construct metaphors. Metaphors in movies help in defining and understanding matters in terms how they look or feel with involvement in physical and experiential encounter. Metaphors draw on basic structures of personal experiences to assign values to social concepts. The selection and arrangement of sounds and images are sensuous and real; they provide an immediate form of audible and visual experience, but they also become trough their organization into larger whole, a metaphorical representation of what something in the historical world is like. ” 18 Types of Kieslowski? s documentaries psychological portraits In a documentary film about himself “ I`m so-so”, Kieslowski admits that his early films, were made in order to get a common portrait of Polish mental condition.
In “From the City of Lodz”, he presented people and their sad faces with a dramatic expression in their eyes in order to portray the reality of this city. Lodz is presented as a grey mass of ruins with its citizens lacking of vitality. He shows a factory and an old women who is going to retiring, however she says she would like to continue the work, but she cannot; workers who complain about a lack of support for their orchestra, in streets some men who seems to wander aimlessly. Another movie within psychological portrait is “The Railway Station”.
A movie begins with television news broadcast “Nasz Dziennik” about production figures on the rise. The presented news is on the contrast to the sad and stony faces of people who are waiting in the station. There is a picture of a slice of Polish reality with so many trains delayed and cancel with not much care about passengers. Crucial is a detail of a camera at the station, with its reference to communist system which seems to be this camera-eye. recording metaphors Kieslowski interest in metaphor, appears also in his documentaries.
For example in the one called “The Office” ( 1966) that deals with intimate burdens in an impersonal routine manner office. In an insurance office in spite of dialogue, there is not people? s lips moving. The emphasis is on what kind of rubber stamps are needed on form. A clerk acts impersonal. The movie is not just a 18 Bill Nichols,“ Introduction to Documentary”, Indiana University Press, 2001, p. 74 picture on bureaucracy, but clearly stands for the whole communist system. Especially the last scene which shows a room filled with documents about everyone.
The last scene might be used as a clear metaphor for communist system, where everyone was checked and a state tried to know everything, what a single man did. The communist system seemed to be as this office, an executor of strict control. Another metaphor on society, he used in a documentary “Factory”, where in close-up shots, he presents the disproportion between the workers and those in power. Also the movie shows the Poland? s economic limitations that time when factory was lacking equipment due to bureaucracy.
Personal stories In “I was a Soldier he interviews 7 men who lost their sight during the war. In this simple story the characters sit and talk about their feelings, in close up shots. Every scene ends by fading to white. Although, the movie ends by fading to black that might be seen as deliver of personal ant-war message. It seems to, be one of the most powerful documentaries, not only for a subject that men presented in movie are blinded during military service in World War II. It is powerful for its understated treatment. The war is a subject of blame of movie? s anti-war expression.
The next documentary, where Kieslowski uses the same technique of interviewing people is movie called “Talking Heads”, which serves also his interest in human faces. In the movie, he interviews 40 people (he begins with a toddler and ends with a 100 years old women), asking them few elementary questions: Who you are? , Where were you born? , What matters most for you? It seems that, the majority of people sound quite idealistic and overwhelmingly democratic. However, the irony punches a line in a replay of 100-year old women who just simply wishes to live longer.
It could be said that the ethnics of Kieslowski? s documentary are based on respect for a single character. He tried to interfere as less as possible in order to respect his character? s privacy. To achieve it, he applied various methods of implementation as like: the documentary observation or interviews. REALSIM- RECORDED PATERN BY DOCUMENTARY Realism is a contentious field of debates across scholars of philosophy, social science, and aesthetics in on-going dialogue about the role of representation: in fine art as like photojournalism for example, and written forms as reports or autobiographies.
It would seem that, there are two tendencies in realism. The one extensive tendency goes into some material aspect of the physical or social world, the other intensive that penetrates further into the recesses of the soul. 19 The term “realism” came to cinema from literary and art movement of the IXX century and went against the solid tradition of classical idealism in order to portray the life as it “really” is. The focus was on ordinary life, indeed the lives of socially deprived people.
It seems that, questions of realism in the art came before the discovery of the cinematographic process by brothers Lumiere. The creation of photography brought about realism many different assumptions, precisely about possibilities of realistic representation on pictures. Fox Talbot, one of the precursors of photography, reminisces about seeing in a camera obscura “ the inimitable beauty of the pictures of nature? s painting” (…) It could be said that, Talbot uses the phrases “ nature? s painting” and “ natural images” in order to refer the invention derived from earlier observations.
Later “ natural images” were patented by Daguerre that could bring out in daguerreotype photographs “One positive view held photography to be a medium of absolute truth; the negative estimation saw demonic powers at work in this strange apparatus. Both views are closely connected: one is merely the flipside of the other. Both are alike in that they view the outcome of any daguerreotype to be completely independent of human agency. ” 20 The important pattern is perhaps, the world “ truth” that is used to describe a photographic image.
There is a tendency for perceiving photographic images as displaying something about truth and real word. And film shares with moving photography as a part of its most obvious technical process. Watching those moving pictures make in people feelings different than watching paintings on the grounds of reproducing reality. Somehow, photography and film have a special place in the debate of realism. Williams claims that film “combines elements drawn from pre-existing forms of still photography, painting, the novel (…) and the theatre, and all welded together on a specific technological base. 21 Realism in cinema might mean different things. There are various ways of defining and exploring 19 20 Arthur McDowall, “ Realism. A Study in art and thought”, E. P. Dutton& Company, New York 1852, p. 24 http://home. foni. net/~vhummel/Hawthorne/hawthorne_1. 3. html 21 Christopher Williams,“ Realism and the Cinema”, A Reader, London: Routledge 1980, p. 2 cinematic realism in debates. Cinema Verite filmmakers perhaps hope to produce something that is more or less “true to nature”. Jean-Luc Goddard comments that cinema is not the reflection of reality, but the reality of the reflection.
Andre Bazin considers that in order to be realistic, a film must be located its characters and action in historical and social setting. It also worth mentioning that Grierson founded in British documentary movement, three basic principles: -a documentary should photograph the living scene and the living story – it should use original actors and scenes -“the materials and stories thus taken from the raw can be finer than the created article” 22 Allied to the more formal concept of realism is the notion of truth telling.
Realism seems to be obliged to represent social reality and make sense of this realty. Jakobsen discusses five ways to make sense of realism: – – – – Realism can be an artistic aim, the artist considers his work to inhabit Realism can be something perceived ( by others than artist) as realistic Realism can refer to specific periods in history defined by historians and critics Realism is defined by convinced narrative techniques ( customs of spending time on actions) Realism is defined by the way it motivates style or narrative 23
It could be said, the steam of realism was adapted to cinema well, as camera seems to be natural tool for realism as it reproduces what is there, in the physical environment. Cinema makes absence of presence and puts reality up on the screen. Besides, cinema might be an attempt to present a direct and truthful view of real world through its presentation of the character and environment of realm functions in film both on the narrative level and the pictorial and photographic level. Through the narrative structures, physical realism goes into psychological one to address social issues.
Scholars, Lapsley, Westlake and Williams divide two types of realism with regard to film: the first one with ideological function that concealment the illusion of realism and the second one with naturalizing function that attempts to use a camera in a non-manipulative way. However, Andre Bazin supports conversely ideas. Bazin? s argument illustrates that realist discourses not only 22 23 Inbod. , p. 17 Anne Jerslev,“ Realism and Realty in Film and Media”, Museum Tusculanum Press University of Copenhagen 2002, p. 16 suppress certain truth, but also produce other truth.
The realist aesthetics recognise the reality-effect produced by cinematic technique in such a way that provides a space for the audience to read the message for themselves. The critical approach to realism in film studies is briefed by two strands of thought, both with roots in formalist conceptions about how film texts which are arranged on abilities to comprehended artistic products. One strand espouses debates in which realist films are departing from the codes and conventions of film practice as like commercial film practice and mainstreams.
Another one is modulate by ideological approaches, which treat all mainstream film texts as versions of the classic realist texts which developed in the XIX century novels. 24 According to these approaches, realism cannot be confined to a particular style of representation as is contingent, in alternation. Important was the development of photography made painting become obsolete, changed the impressionistic mimesis by the empirical objectivity of the photographic image. From the other side, in literature, the early realists called themselves as careful painters of human life, asserting that `art always aims to represent reality?. 5 Although, George Eliot, the realist writer Adam Bede ( in chapter 17) demonstrated her appreciation of difficulty, in particular, how a writer is able to translate the truth into words? Writers took different positions on realism. Guy Maupassant suggests that realists are illusionists, but Henry James favours of terms as impression of life and air reality. In film studies, the post- structuralism position on realism is presented by Collin MacCabe in his well know essay called “Realism and the cinema: notes on some Brechtian theses”.
MacCabe argues in some conventional documentary films, there is metalanguage in the form of voce over narration which provide different versions of reality presented by numerous voices in order to perform a truth-telling function. 26In turn, he claims that fiction film is similarly structured, just with images taking precedence over words. The photographs show to the spectator what happens; the camera provides the metalanguage by situating the spectator within the fictional narration of the film. He also argues that the truth of the situation is created by the images: we as an audience believe what we see rather than what we are told about.
In contrast, Bazin advocates a realist cinema that upholds the freedom for spectators to choose their own interpretations of an object, narrator and story. This concept of realism respects 24 25 Julia Hallam, Margaret Marshment,“ Realism and popular cinema”, Manchester University Press, 200, p. 4 Julia Hallam, Margaret Marshment,“ Realism and popular cinema”, Manchester University Press, 200, p. 4 26 Inbid, p. 11 perceptual time and space, advocating depth of field and the long take techniques which seem to be at the level of recording as they take place.
However, he also adds that just techniques cannot guarantee that a realistic cinema will be a result from its use. 27 Jakobsen discusses five ways to make sense of realism: Realism can be an artistic aim the artist considers his work to inhabit Realism can be something perceived ( by others than artist) as realistic Realism can refer to specific periods in history defined by historians and critics Realism is defined by convinced narrative techniques (customs of spending time on actions) Realism is defined by the way it motivates style or narrative 28
REALITY CAPTURED BY KIESLOWSKI? s CAMERA It could be said that, for some “the real is the same thing as the true. Others describe reality to what exists or happens in the surrounding physical world and at the heart of realism, in all its variations seems to be the sense of actual existence, an acute awareness of it, and a vision of things under that form. 29 Descrates with his theme,” I think, therefore I am”; began the first of many attempts in order to explain reality in terms of mind. Pascal said, man is but a reed, yet he is a thinking reed. 0 “The reality represented in film is constituted by the so-called represented objects. ”31 Plesnar writes that the represented reality of film consists in four ontological levels. The first level comprises represented events-individuals. The second level consists of represented things, which depend on represented events; the third level is designed for represented process and the fourth for strictly relative categories. As cohesion to his four levels, the represented reality in film must be defined as a set of all represented events.
Slavoj Zizek presents “Kieslowski? s starting point was the same as all cineastes in the socialist countries: the conspicuous gap between the drab social reality and the optimistic, bright image which pervaded the heavily censored media. The first reaction to the fact, in Poland, social 27 28 Inbid, p. 15 Anne Jerslev“ Realism and Realty in Film and Media”, Museum Tusculanum Press University of Copenhagen 2002, p. 16 29 Arthur McDowall“Realism. A Study in art and thought”, E. P. Dutton& Company, New York 1852, p. 3 30 Inbid, p. 5 31 Lukasz Plesnar “ Represented Space in film” in “ The Jagiellonian University Film Studies”, Wieslaw Godzic, Universitas Krakow 1996, p. 77 reality was unrepresented, as Kieslowski put it, was, of course, the move towards a more adequate representation of real life in all its drabness and ambiguity-in short, an authentic documentary approach. ”32 In the interview with Danuta Stok, Kieslowski says: “At that time, I was interested in everything that could be described by the documentary film camera. There was a necessity, a needwhich was very exciting for us-to describe the world.
The communist world had described how it should be and not how it really was. We-there were a lot of us-tired to describe this world and it was fascinating to describe something which had not been described yet. It is a feeling of bringing something to life, because it is a bit like that. If something has not been described then it does not officially exist. So that if we start describing it, we bring if to life. ” 33 After the Second World War, the political atmosphere in Poland was extremely tense. Siegel, quoting Norman Davies? work called “Heart of Europe: A short History of Poland”, adds: “Poland became a Stalinist one-party. By 1946 the State had taken away over ninety present of Poland? s industrial production, and sweeping land reforms broke up the pre-war Polish estates. Heavy industry was given precedence over agricultural production, and the general standard of living declined as the private sector was abolished and worker were exploited… Anyone suspected of disloyalty was interrogated, censored and put in prison. ” 34 The situation in Poland definitely caused Kieslowski? s pessimist in his movies which was dictated by communist.
In the same interview with Stok, he provides examples when he was forced to edit part of reality that he recorded, particularly when the reality in film did not impose the reality that government wanted to provide. However, he tried always to find methods in order to present “the truth” by tricking the censors, he adds. Realism was what Krzysztof Kieslowski concentrated on, and his fictions have a documentary feel to it. In his movies there is a shift from using the observational camera-work associated with documentary with classical conventions of continuity as like in a questions session in Decalogue 1, between Pawel and his auntie.
This questions session becomes the focus of narrative interest through the use of medium/ close ups and shot of dramatically the curious face of Pawel. 32 33 Slavoj Zizek“ The fright of real tears. Between theory and post-theory”, British Film Institute, 2001, p. 71 Danuta Stok,“ Kieslowski on Kieslowski”, faber and faber, London 1993, p. 54, 55 34 Annette Insdorf,“ Double Lives, Second Chances”, MIRAMAX, New York 199, p. 9 DOCUMENTARY+/= FICTION When documentary aspects can be visible in Kieslowski? s fiction? How these aspects influence on his fiction? Are these aspects make similarities between his documentaries and fictions?
Kieslowski started with documentary as an attempt to describe reality that surrounded him and later moved from describing form of reality to expressing form of reality, in his fiction. However, it seems that, there is number of corn similarities between his documentaries and fictions. Firstly, he shifted his interest about a man from documentaries to fiction. “Even the short documentary films were always about people, about what they? re like. ” 35( …) In addition, in documentaries and fictions his main interest was inner-life. Secondly, almost all his work, apart from this feature Short Working Day ( 1981) that shows the worker? strikers from 1976; are set in the present, although they might have got some links to the past. Kieslowski focus on the present, on the stories of ordinary people, demonstrate them on the grounds of importance. In addition his focus on individual character, an observation of a small portion of reality is well seen not just in documentaries, but also in his fictions. In “Blue” a melting cube of sugar which proves Kieslowski? s obsession of close up, shows that the main character is not interested in something else then in this cube of sugar.
For her, important is what is in front of her, her inner world. He achieved this technique by close-up zooming which creates an illusion of isolation a person of object from the wider context. The same techniques can be notice in his documentary called “Hospital” where details also play a significant role. A detail has got a significant role to evoke feelings in the audience as it delivers also a metaphysical context. Closing-up on doctors who hold and smoke cigarettes is seem to be reaction that in hospital they do not have medical tools to heal their patients and they use some building tools. The realist paid attention to redundant detail, which often meant writing dialogue that accurately reflected a character? s social identity, as well as, or instead of, forwarding the plot. In production, realist effect was created through props and sets that reproduced everyday life in great detail. ” 36 35 36 Danuta Stok,“ Kieslowski on Kieslowski”, faber and faber, London 1993, p. 144 Julia Hallam, Margaret Marshment,“ Realism and popular cinema”, Julia Hallam, Manchester University Press, 2000, p. 20 Furthermore, from his documentaries, he brought kind of simplicity of presenting subjects or person, much avoiding authorial intervention.
He never used both in documentaries and fictions his voice over commentary. It would seem that he believed that shooting in close-up characters tell story enough well without the need of commentary. Also from his documentaries, he gained the skills of photographing people? s feelings as like happiness, sorrow, tiredness, hopeless, indecision and hope ( most evident “ I was a Soldier, “ X-Ray”, “ Talking Heads”), and adopted them into his fiction, Clearly seen in the scene of Decalogue 1, when Krzysztof lost his son, when he runs to the church to protest and despair.
Thirdly, Kieslowski also used the documentary technique to raise tension and attention in his fiction. This statement supports the view in Blue, when Julie asks the housekeeper lady, why she is crying and when she hears “because you are not”. Julie who is normally unresponsive to others; reacts by embracing. And what a camera does in this particular moment? The camera is moving in close, reframes. The camera fallows the action rather than leading it. It seems that the moment might feel as documentary, as cameraman was surprised by Julie? s sudden reaction as audience might be. 7 By using this documentary technique in fiction he was more to fallow “the focus”. As in documentaries, noticed event that just happened is a part of what makes a documentary feels real. Fallow feeling with the character, not purely indemnification with him or her, but the kind of recognition of what the character feels in his/her world. His fiction (especially Camera Buff, Personel or Decalogue) provide feelings of authenticity and naturalness. Moreover, he often uses “deep focus” which is a technique that depends on a wide depth of field.
Depth of field is a cinematographic practice, whereas deep focus is a technique in a film. Depth of field refers to the facial length and is achieved by a wide-angle lens. Deep focus, Bazin arguments as a greater objective realism possible. Besides, Kieslowski use to start the first scenes of showing the setting which carry information of the plot. In his documentary “From the city of Lodz”, at first a spectator sees the fabric, which is a basic and corn place for the characters of movie. The spectator, can observe the same technique in his fiction, for example in Decalogue 1, when at first sees the lake, the place of catastrophe. Kieslowski represents a creation as a form of suffering, an urgency that nothing can impede, like solitary cry before indifference of ? deals. ”38The tendency of showing the setting first in movie might be a shadow what is a film about. The same tool is in Decalogue 7, when a movie starts from the off-screen scream of a child who is a main matter of the movie. 37 Steven Woodward, “After Kieslowski. The Legacy of Krzysztof Kieslowski”,Wayne State University Press, Michigan, 2009, p. 154 38 Annette Insdorf,“ Double Lives, Second Chances”, MIRAMAX, New York, 1999, p. 3 In addition, there is also characterisers melancholy which seem to be started in documentaries and was continued in fictions, which has got some philosophical reflections. There is a tendency in both his fiction and documentaries to show the same kind of man who does not how to life and for what reasons. Consequently, cyclical nature of his fiction movies had background in documentaries. For example the documentaries such as: Hospital, Office, Station, Factory might be put in one cycle, as all of them tell the story about Polish national institutions.
The documentaries such as X-Ray, I was a Soldier , The Talking Heads might create another cycle. There is a same technique in fiction with the cycles as Blind Chance, Decalogue, Three Colours. In many interviews, Kieslowski pointed out that he makes movies in order to register. In 1976 he remarked: “I started to combine elements of both filmic genres- documentary and fictionfrom the documentary taking the truth of behaviour, the appearances of things and people, and from fiction, the depth of experience and action- the driving force of this genre. ”39 39
Marek Haltof, “ The cinema of Krzysztof Kieslowski”, Wallfower Press, London, 2004, p. 27 KIESLOWSKI? S AESTHETICS “ Critics, particularly Polish film critics, usually debate the distribution between the ? early realist „and ? mature „metaphysical Kieslowski, and majority of them clearly favour `Kieslowski the realist?. ”40 The argument for that might be, he started from detailed representation of reality, later moved this realist form of observations of people to his fictions. , the most evident in Decalogue, where he keeps a camera on a character, often working class character.
Kieslowski believed that trough the documentary he can describe the world around him. His documentaries and early fictions show Poland and all its ugliness. He used very cold form of showing the grimy period of Poland under the communist regime whit a main focus on every day? s life of ordinary Poles. The world in which he grow up as an artist, the world with he continually dialogued in his movies, was not stable, free and economically successful like in Western Europe. The suffering of his country in many ways appears in his work.
In Decalogue ( 10 parts that refer to the Biblical Ten Commandments), the ugliness of grey urban setting dominates the filmic landscape, together with close-ups of characters who endure these harsh conditions. Kieslowski? s observation of desperate characters, struggled for a better tomorrow, entanglement to the system, living in a communal way of life in grey, tenement blocks give Decalogue the feeling of documentary film. It seems that an inspiration for Decalogue were “chaos and disorder ruled Poland in the 1980s-ever-where, everything, practically everybody? s life. Tension, a feeling of hopelessness . 41 However, the Decalogue combines both; realism and hallucinatory style, as there is a mysterious zone in this cycle which is represented by a mysterious stranger who appears at crucial moments in different parts. The mysterious stranger is the silent witness and appears symbolically. He brings the element of mystery, something inexplicable also the tone for the series by dramatizing the conflict between the rational and the spiritual. Moreover, in Decalogue, Kieslowski preoccupied with issues of chance, fate, alternative possibilities, and the tentative suggestions of a providential esign to the arc of human life quite similar as Ingmar Bergman. His characters suffer from dislocation, a displaced orientation, a disappear identity. In many ways, Decalogue is a set of the dramatic conditions and tone of isolation, despair, longing what cannot be recovered. “Chaos and disorder ruled Poland in the mid. 1980s-everwhere, everything, practically everybody? s 40 41 Inbid. , p. XI Danuta Stok“ Kieslowski on Kieslowski”, faber and faber, London, 1993, p. 143 life.
Tension, a feeling of hopelessness, and a fear of yet worse to come were obvious (…) I am not even thinking about politics here but about ordinary, everyday life (…) I was watching people who did not really know why they were living. ” There is also kind of tendency for them going round and round in circles, without achieving what they wish to achieve. The series of Decalogue is also a compact about such questions as what is right, what is wrong? how to be honest? .how to live with the acceptance to the nature? However, considering these questions, it seems that in movies Kieslowski avoids easy answers. Slavoj Zizek argues that Kieslowski? interest in Decalogue is ethic not morality. This is showed by breaking the moral code in each film that the ethical path is to be found. ” 42 Moreover, Kieslowski used a form of ethical questioning as opposite to the strict moral code based in religious principles in 10 Commandments. It as an attempt to narrate ten stories about different individuals, caught in some struggles of difficulties of Polish life. The Decalogue is “the virtualisation of (…) life experience, the explosion/ dehiscence of the single ? true` reality into multitude of parallel lives, is strictly correlative to the assertion of the pro-cosmic abyss of a chaotic. 43 Decalogue has got an authentic recording of reality, but also has got acting and stimulation which offers still authentic imagery. “ The major staples of Catholic thought-moral law, sin, guilt, free will, angels; infuse Kieslowski? s world” 44 in Decalogue. The first Decalogue episode presents the death of a child. The film opens with a picture of the frozen lake, suggesting a winter. It seems that the camera surveys this elemental image in order to avoid the human habitation, depicting despoil universe. A young man seats beside a smoking fire. He is a part of this landscape, the furry collar of his coat add animal look.
The same returns at least 4 times in this part of Decalogue and returns in another part. He has no influence on action, however he leads the characters. Again in the first episode of Decalogue, there is the same technique, which Kieslowski used in his documentaries, called the technique of details. For example, Krzysztof is upset when ink that suddenly stains on his paper. It is like liquid is out of the control. This detail is reference to moment when Pawel his son is on the ice and this liquid functions as a foreboding liquid of out of control. 42 Steven Woodward , “After Kieslowski.
The Legacy of Krzysztof Kieslowski”, Wayne State University Press, Michigan 2009, p. 44 43 Slavoj Zizek,“ The fright of real tears. Between theory and post-theory”, British Film Institute, 2001, p. 95 44 Steven Woodward, “ After Kieslowski. The Legacy of Krzysztof Kieslowski”,Wayne State University Press, Michigan 2009, p. 186 In the third Decalogue episode, there is the same technique of playing with light as for example in his documentary X-Ray. In this documentary light presses on characters? hope and fears. The first shot is of blurred light that comes into focus when a drunk appears. Light is significant foreground here.
Later when a police car is fallowing Janusz in stolen taxi, the scene is shot with close-ups of flashing blue light. As in other segments of the Decalogue, close-ups with wider shots filled with variations of lighting tend to isolate characters. If one character is in shadow, the other in light present the formal separation on emotional state. In X-Ray, light press characters? desires. Shots of a wood at sunrise follow, with a mysterious fog rolling through the scene. The abstract impulse is clearly in these shots and they act as a suggestion of eternal space cut against images of facing death people.
Also the stark contrast between the pastoral rehabilitation centre and the smog-ridden city is showed by visual rhetoric of lighting as well. From the other side, Decalogue can be also analysed trough the terms used by Joseph G. Kickasola: the mosaic structure and Multivalent Consciousness. The mosaic structure is a kind of film composed with small pieces of narrative. Mini narratives come together to form a larger narrative. Narratives are related, and the drama of the film is contingent on these relationships developing and changing throughout the course of the film.
The watching elements come together to form a whole. 45 In Decalogue all 10 episodes take place in Warsaw, the same blocks- tenements arrangement, among neighbours who may know each other. There is the connection between characters within the theme. Kieslowski realised argument that “ We perceive our environment by anticipating and telling ourselves mini-stories” about that environment based on stories already told”. 46 Multivalent Consciousness takes a place when one person in some ways or another has got two or more simultaneous modes. It presents the idea of two people who might be the same person.
In Decalogue, there is a mysterious man who once is a man sitting by lake in another part he takes different role. Somehow, there is an experience of a sense of mysterious connection between this one character to another character in particular episodes of Decalogue. “Tim Pulleine writes that Kieslowski? s perception of the world is saturated with “ East European sinisterness. Even if one agrees with this comment-suggesting that the characters in Decalogue are themselves the products of specific East-Central European historical, political and 45
Steven Woodward , “After Kieslowski. The Legacy of Krzysztof Kieslowski”,Wayne State University Press, Michigan, 2009, p. 168 46 Edward Branigan, “Narrative, Comprehension and Film”, Routledge, London, 1992, p. 1 cultural circumstances- one also has to notice that they face universal, truly Bergmanesque dilemmas. ”47 The open structure in Decalogue which is also in Bergman? s movies invite to fallow the action of his characters written in symbols, allusions, ambiguity and a number of motifs such as bottle of milk- sipped, frozen, spilled and delivered.
In Decalogue 1, the frozen milk in a bottle seems to be a signal that the ice is thick enough for Pawel to go skating. Ironically, the ice cracks as the water was too warm in a lake, may it be a motif of the bottle of milk de-freezing itself? Furthermore, when Pawel is on the ice-skating, the ink bottle spills on his father? s table, makes uncanny spot. Is that can be read as melted milk? In addition, the motif of milk appears later in another parts of Decalogue. In Decalogue 2, the old doctor goes to buy a bottle of milk when in Decalogue 4 is very similar scene, when father goes to buy a bottle of milk.
And the same bottle of milk is prominent in Decalogue 6, when young boy Tomek distributes milk in order to contact with Magda. Magda spills the bottle of milk on a table. Might the spilling of milk occurring as an echoed red stain of blood that fills the washbasin after Tomek? s suicide attempt, when he cuts his wrists? It could be said that, the bottle of milk is a sublimation of the detail which gives a meaning for another scenes as a simple trick of theatrical play. However, Kieslowski says “When it spills, it means milk? s been spilt. Nothing more (… ) And that is cinema. Unfortunately, it does not mean anything else. 48 Anyhow, this statement does not mean that he disagreed with metaphorical ability of cinema, but he simply found it more difficult for cinema than for example for a novelist to capture the inner life. One of the Kieslowski? s famous actor Jerzy Stuhr says that Kieslowski used a method of perfect dialogue. Two people on the screen are silent, and a third one in the audience knows why. From documentaries, he avoided in his movies over informative dialogue. He weaved the information through character? s behaviour and details which were always important tools of information in his movies. 9 Idziak one of his famous cameraman said about Kieslowski: “He strongly believes that the look is more important than anything else, he understand to what extent the style affects the story. He understand that the style is the story itself. ” 50 Also memories are important part of his movies. This approach to memories, dreams is visible already in his documentaries ( “ I was Soldier”, “ X-ray”) and it is much developed and 47 48 Marek Haltof,“ The cinema of Krzysztof Kieslowski”, Wallfower Press, London, 2004, p. 79 Danuta Stok, “Kieslowski on Kieslowski”, aber and faber, London 1993, p. 127 49 Steven Woodward, “ After Kieslowski.
The Legacy of Krzysztof Kieslowski”, Wayne State University Press, Michigan, 2009, p. 70 50 Steven Woodward , “After Kieslowski. The Legacy of Krzysztof Kieslowski”,Wayne State University Press, Michigan, 2009, p. 150 questioned in his fiction. In his documentaries, dreams were treated more as portraits of characters; in fictions they have got more metaphysical and spiritual aspects. From time to time Kieslowski characters confess to odd feelings, strange dreams that dived them in a certain direction. Torkovsky once wrote: “Time and memory merge into each other; they are like two sides of a medal. Memory is a spiritual concept…
Bereft of memory, a person becomes the prisoner of an illusory experience; falling out of the time he is unable to seize his own link with the outside world-in other words he is doomed to madness. ”51 51 Andrei Tarkovsky, “ Sculpting in Time”, trans. Kitty Hunter-Blair, Austin: University Texas Press, 1986, p. 58 WHY RETRACTION FROM DOCUMENTRY? In the switch to fictions, it is quite clear that Kieslowski started to see the limits of the realist aesthetics. He discovered there was still much in life to be explored. “Not everything can be described. That is the documentary? s great problem. It catches itself as if in its own trap…
If I am making a film about love, I cannot go into a bedroom if real people are making love there… I noticed, when making documentaries, that the closer I wanted to get to an individual, the more objects which interested me shut themselves off. That is probably why I changed to features. ” 52 In the interview with Stok, Kieslowski gives example about one documentary that he was making during Polish martial law in the early 1980s. He received permission from the lawyer Krzysztof Piesiewicz ( his co-scriptwriter of Decalogue). The case for it was, expose the brutal and unfair sentences of the Polish judges were passing on Piesiewicz? worker clients. “ The moment I started shooting… the judges did not sentence the accused. That is, they passed some sort of deferred sentences which were not in fact, at all painful. ” 53 It seems that judges did not want be recorded on film passing unjust sentences. Kieslowski understood that this causes false visions of reality behind him. According to the interview with Stok, Kieslowski claims that he made his films on documentary principles. These principles reflected not to “unmediated truth, but the premise that films “evolve trough ideas and not action. 4 However, he still believed in human experiences and describing the reality as his artistic territory although, at the end of his carrier, he moved from social focus to more universal metaphysical ideas of life. It could be said that the instruments of authenticity which he used in documentaries, went toward the task of metaphysical exploration which still caused thrust to his all movies, just in this case metaphysical thrust of portraying human feelings. Another reasons, seems to be more ethical. Probing into other? s intimacy by referring to the right. “ I managed to photograph some real tears several times.
It is something completely different. But now, I have got glycerine. I am frightened of real tears. In fact, I do not even know whether I have got the right to photograph them. At such times I feel like somebody who has found himself a realm which is, in fact, out of bounds. That is the main reason why I escaped from documentaries. ”55 52 53 Slavoj Zizek,“ The fright of real tears. Between theory and post-theory”, British Film Institute, 2001, p. 72 Danuta Stok, “ Kieslowski on Kieslowski”, faber and faber, London 1993, p. 127 54 Joseph G.. Kickasola “ The films of Krzysztof Kieslowski”, Joseph G. Kickasola,continuum, London 2004, p. 3 55 Slavoj Zizek, “”The fright of real tears. Between theory and post-theory”, British Film Institute, 2001, p. 72 Zizek argues that Kieslowski supplements the prohibition to depict the intimate moments of real life with false images of fiction. He adds that Kieslowski moved from documentaries as when somebody films real life scenes in documentary, people ( actors) play themselves and he claims that the only way to depict people beneath their protective mask of playing it, paradoxically is making them directly play a role into fiction. It seems that, in Zizek? s augment fiction is more real than the social reality of playing roles.
He supports the view that if in Kieslowski? s documentaries, the characters seem to play themselves, then his fictions cannot but appear as documentaries about the brilliant performance. 56 Zizek also makes very crucial questions in order to analysing Kieslowski? s. He asks; if his escape from documentaries to fiction was dictated by the ? fright of real tears? , by the insight into obscenity of directly performance real life intimate experiences? How fictions are even in a way even more vulnerable than reality? If documentaries show the hurt the personal reality of the character, that fiction intrudes into and hurts dreams themselves?
Documentary has got its limits; “not everything can be described”, he said in “ Kieslowski on Kieslowskim”. Turning camera on external events cannot capture the intimate experiences such as making love or dying he said. Analysing his fictions, the question this arises: “Could a feature describe better than a documentary? ” The dominant characteristic of the fiction film is that it represent something what is imaginary of the director. However, the feature representation seems to be more realistic then in another field of art such as painting or theatre as those show effigies of objects, their shadows.
When in a fiction, the setting and actors represent the “real” situation even if they played it of the certain number of filmed conventions which we recognize from our life. In “Blind Chance” , Kieslowski composed three version, which seems to begin as a dream; the young man running to catch the train to Warsaw. The movie starts, that the main character is screaming as he lost his father who wished that he becomes a doctor, however he loses his wishing whist he was dying, he tells to Witek: “You do not have to do anything”. And somehow his father? death frees him from necessity. Later in the same part he becomes a Party activist, in the second part he gets lost and in third one, he got marry, become a doctor and suddenly die in an aircraft explosion. “ Witek 1 is shot with a Tarkovskian adherence to ? real time? : no time is edited out of any of the 56 Slavoj Zizek,“ The fright of real tears. Between theory and post-theory”, British Film Institute, 2001, p. 75 sequences. The life of Witek 2 is edited more conventionally, highlighting the “ key” moments” (…) The final version of Witek? life is edited most conventionally from all, virtually in the no-nonsense manner of a television movie. ” 57 The end of the movie confers a sense of fantasy. “ By beginning Blind Chance with Witek? s scream and by developing opposite scenarios that logically require a middle one to complete and close them, Kieslowski gives to his film a structure that preserves it from succumbing entirely to the dictates of chance. ” 58 Start with a close-up of a man who screams “ No” with a moving camera into darkness of his throat. This might be a scene of Witek? s flashback.
Witold? s scream at the beginning, might be a replay on the end of the film, when a plane? s explosion occurs. Blind Chance seems to be more of the same elevated to an iconic Munch-like open-mounted scream with which the film starts, and exactly this scene realises at the conclusion of the film, when it means the death of the main character. As the result, the movie might be described as the binary of “catch” or “ miss” the train: missing the train with positive outcome, missing the train with negative outcome, corresponding to the third story when he caught the plane.
Catching or missing, determined his death. 59 The term Forking Paths created by Joseph G. Kickasola, where one character proceeding along a particular narrative trajectory that divides in several directions. One path might be a true, and the others just are alternative endings. 60 This term suits for Blind Chance as outcome the moment of contingency. Alain Masson refers to the construction of Blind Chance as a dilemma or trilemma, where Kieslowski invites the audience to puzzle over whether Witek? s experiences device from choice, chance or perhaps destiny.
As he said in “ I? m So-So`, “ We are sum of several things, including individual will, fate and chance which is not so important. It is the path we choose that is crucial. ”61 57 Paul Coates, “ Kieslowski, Politics and the Anti-Politics of Colour”: From the 1970s to the Three Colours Trilogy” in The Red and The White. The Cinema of People? s of Poland”, Wallflower Press, Great Britain, 2005, p. 191 58 Inbid. , p. 192 59 Steven Woodward, “After Kieslowski. The Legacy of Krzysztof Kieslowski”,Wayne State University Press, Michigan 2009, p. 122 60 Inbid. , p. 69 61 Annette Insdorf,“ Double Lives, Second Chances”, MIRAMAX, New York 199, p. 59 CONCLUSION In Poland in mid-1970s and 80s, Kieslowski was a leading documentary film- maker with the following output :The Office ( 1966), The Photograph ( 1968), From the City of Lodz ( 1969), I Was a Soldier ( 1970), Factory ( 1970), Before the Rally ( 1971), Refrain ( 1972), Between Wroclaw and Zielona Gora ( 1972), The Principles of Safety and Hygiene in Copper Mine ( 1972), Workers? 71: nothing about us without us ( 1972), Bricklayer ( 1973), X-Ray ( 1974), Curriculum vitae ( 1975), Hospital ( 1976), From a Night Porter? Point of View (1977), I don? t know (1977), Seven Women of Different Age ( 1978), Station (1980), Talking Heads ( 1980),Seven days a Week ( 1988). Kieslowski started from documentaries as a fight for a representation of the lack of an adequate image of social reality in Polish cinema caused by Communist regime. It seems that, he moved into fiction, as he noticed that when he let go of false representation and directly approach of reality, he lost reality itself in his documentaries. Notably, his documentary achievement has got unquestionable reflections on his fiction.
Precisely, to feature films, Kieslowski moved “a criterion of authenticity” visible for example in “ Personel”, where he made significant remark toward “ authentic cinema”. For this production, he used improvised dialogue within the tradition of Italian neorealists, to cast non-actors for majority of roles. In the interview with Stok, he describes, how characters are true as they contradict the conventions of filmic stereotypes. Moreover, the next important tool in his movies is the tool of detail. Kieslowski, already started using this tool in his documentaries, whereby he developed within fiction.
A detail in Kieslowski? s films, it is not just a construction of reality, but the detail plays crucial role in the transmission of reality. Furthermore, analysing Kieslowski? s films on the grounds of its documentary elements in his fiction, it is also important to interlace them with the term of naturalism which is closely associated with realism and which was not mentioned before in the paper. Naturalism fist came in the theatre of the nineteenth century with the work of Andre Antonie. He created a method of acting in order to get the actors to move away from the theatrical gestural.
It means that the actors supposed to act as the audience was not there and audience feels as if it witnessing slice-of-life realism, which was also crucial for Stanislavsky? s method of acting. Actors enter the personae of their characters in order to not represent themselves. The essays describes the importance of naturalism, as Kieslowski? s actor appears to play in very natural and realist way and Kieslowski precisely stylised a life in a film. Especially, the Decalogue delivers naturally the conclusion for Poles- “they speak just like us”. The reality of what that might be seen in front of eyes, can drives nto the illusory nature of representation. It could be said that in this way, naturalism has got also an ideological effect of naturalizing. Therefore, it gives a surface image of reality. Always, aesthetic, social and moral concerns work together to deepen Kieslowski? s films. “Kieslowski? s work was prescient in all kinds of ways, that developed innovative narrative forms and stylistic methods to address pressing existential, moral and political issues ( …) with references to his social context and the tensions and conflicts that surrounded him. ” 62Emma Wilson describes Kieslowski as a director of intimacy and interiority.
Kieslowski in his movies guid

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