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Few names are as synonymous with Polish cinema as that of Krzysztof Kieślowski, the renowned auteur responsible for the Dekalog and Three Colours trilogy. Prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall and his subsequent creative and critical success in France, Kieślowski plied his trade within the confines of the Eastern Bloc, capturing the realities of everyday life under Soviet rule. This collection gathers his four earliest narrative feature films, encapsulating the years 1976–1984.
In 1976’s The Scar, a well-intentioned Party loyalist is charged with overseeing the construction of a new chemical plant in the face of fierce resistance and is forced to confront the conflict between his good intentions and local opposition. In 1979’s Camera Buff, a family man and amateur filmmaker experiences a dramatic change in fortunes when his newfound hobby opens up new horizons but also results in deep marital and philosophical conflicts. Blind Chance, completed in 1981 and denied a release in its native Poland until 1987, presents three possible outcomes to a single, seemingly banal event – a young medical student running to catch a train – and, in the process, explores the relationship between chance and choice. Finally, in 1984’s No End, a recently bereaved translator juggles the conflicting demands of her work, caring for her son and her continued visions of her late husband, all against the backdrop of a Poland under the grip of martial law.
As socially conscious as Kieślowski’s earlier documentary shorts, this quartet of films covers a tumultuous period in Polish and Eastern European history, shot with unflinching realism by a filmmaker of distinction.