Movie review by Joseph Lupoli
Hello, film buffs. Welcome to my first installment of Friday Night at the Movies!
Okay, so my own wife accuses me of being a "film snob."
Maybe it's not an endearing term, but she's probably right. I'm always looking for realistic and thought provoking international films, including American. My DVD home library is loaded with some of the best movies ever made. Mrs. Lupoli prefers fluffy American "Dramedy" chick flicks and movies made from those Jane Austen English classics.
And Joseph? Well, for a "manly man", as my wife describes me, my film genre preference doesn't include the usual testosterone laden, force-fed formula action flicks. I go for 'minimalist drama', a term often used by film insiders. The fewer characters, the better... and I want gut wrenching subject matter and plenty of dialogue. For whatever reason, Hollywood has never been a hotbed for that sort of film making, although a few gems did manage to worm their way through the Tinseltown cracks.
For the most part, regions such as The Far East and Europe have been cranking out top quality cinema since the 'silent era.'
Tonight's film feature is: Krzysztof Kielowski's, The Decalogue 1987-1989. Actually, it's not a move... it's a ten-part series from Poland. The Decalogue is loosely based on each the Ten Commandments. Each episode is titled after a Commandment and they all tackle Commandment related issues. The individual films are about 55 minutes in length.
Stark realism and very heavy subject matter is rule here. The stories revolve around the intertwining lives of people who live in or near a bleak apartment high rise complex in a Polish industrial city. Every episode delves deeply into the consequences of moral choices stemming from life problems involving relationships, per chance encounters, and the dynamics of various family units. Mainstream dilemmas such as infidelity, child custody, guilt, deaths of loved one's due to accidents, financial disputes, and even murder are carefully examined from from several points of view. you will notice that many of the lead characters in any particular series episode may be mere passerby's in other Decalogue films.
The Decalogue is an internationally critically acclaimed film series the world over. It's a must-see for anyone who likes pure and cerebral drama with great writing, and understated yet powerful acting, sans unnecessary special effects, gratuitous violence, or over-the-top soundtrack scores... and, of course, for those who don't mind subtitles.
Netflix this gem at once!