Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder
Ten films. Five nights. The last diary entry.
Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2000 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.
I finished The Decalogue! Whee! I had felt as though I'd never finished anything in my life -- "The Civil War," "Pride and Prejudice," "Beloved," lots of Important artistic works. But now, I've watched TEN HOURS of Kieslowski's films re: the Ten Commandments, and I'm so glad.
Thank you, Anirvan, for accompanying me to ALL TEN of the movies. Thank you, UC Theater, for showing them. I'm so glad I live in Berkeley, with TWO art-film houses, instead of Stockton, where there are, oh, none.
The UC Theater flyer claimed that the last two films were on the topic of, respectively, "Thou shalt not covet they neighbor's wife" and "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods." But Anirvan and I went to Au Coquelet for a post-Decalogue snack, and the films aren't so easily categorized. I think the theater messed up, and should have switched its categorization of the adultery one and the coveting one, perhaps. Still, many films are Multi-Commandment. There's stealing and coveting and mother-and-father-dishonoring and sexual immoralities all over. And abortion is easy and common. Oi!
There were just enough crossover elements from film to film to give a dedicated viewer a special kick. The most noticeable element was a silent man with short blond hair who appeared (as a cameo, simply walking or bike-riding by) in several films. Anirvan opined that he shows up at the crucial decision-moment of those films. We dubbed him "The Watcher." Isn't that the title of a character in "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer"?
Anyhow, it was rich and good and expanded my understanding of what filmmaking and storytelling could be. Subtle and provocative and not necessarily closed-ended. So THIS is what I've been missing, seeing "What Women Want" and similar dreck.
A week and a half from now or so, UC Theater will show Kieslowski's Colors Trilogy. Every day, you can come and see, in sequence, White, Blue, and Red. The shebang starts and 5:30 every day between Monday, 8 January, and Thursday, 11 January. See you there?
Which is more Berkeley?