The recent romantic comedy 'Sliding Doors' postulated what might happen if a character caught, or did not catch, a particular train. But master Polish film maker Krzysztof Kieslowski had had this idea twenty years earlier, and in his film 'Blind Chance', he used it to much more serious purpose: to explore the interplay of chance and character in the fate of a man. At the same time, he painted a picture of Poland in a state of flux (the film was made during the period of martial law, and duly suppressed for five years); and of the way the same moral choices confront everyone, albeit in different forms. The film lacks the high artistry of his subsequent works, but his ability to distill the essence of life into minimalist drama is already much in evidence. The stark awfulness of the communist regime may have aided him in this, as evidenced by the looser, more mystical nature of his final, French-set work. But his greatest achievements, the openly political 'No End' and the perfect morality plays of the 'Dekalog', can each be seen as natural extensions of the themes of 'Blind Chance'. In the film's final scene, an aircraft takes off, but to us, it appears as if it is sinking into the earth. The world of cinema is poorer without its director and his bleak, poetic visions.
Witek runs after a train. Three variations follow on how such a seemingly banal incident could influence the rest of Witek's life.
May 11, 2020