Dekalog, Episode 2, written by Krzysztof Kieslowski and Krzysztof Piesiewicz, directed by the former
A different version of this note and thoughts on other books are available at:
- https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEVa4_CsRStSBBDo4uJWT8BSWtTTn0N1E and http://realini.blogspot.ro/
Dekalog is a fabulous series.
It has been included on the list of best films, including the one compiled by TIME Magazine, The All-TIME 100 movies:
All the ten episodes of Dekalog are based on the Ten Commandments and the story lines refer to the Bible, at least as pretext for the plot
- "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain".
This is the second commandment and the place to start in this narrative, which has at the center a woman called Dorota Geller.
She is a musician with the Philharmonic.
Her husband is very ill and she tried to find more about his condition from the elderly doctor who is also their neighbor.
The doctor is rather morose, unfriendly and detached.
We would later find there is a reason for this attitude and it has to do with a tragedy that has affected the life of the poor man.
Dorota Geller calls at the door of the apartment:
- Do you know me?
- Yes, you ran over my dog two years ago…
After this inauspicious debut to their (mis)communication, the two neighbors would gradually become friendlier, but in the second half of this episode.
The distressed woman wants to know how serious is the condition of her husband, only the doctor gives this information…
- On Wednesday, between 3 and 5 in the afternoon, this is when I see the relatives of my patients
- But it is Monday
- Yes, the day after tomorrow
- I wish I ran over you instead of your dog…
Notwithstanding this death wish, Dorota Geller comes to the hospital to see her spouse and then tries again to engage with the doctor.
She is offering him a ride home in her VW Beetle, but he refuses because he says he always walks home.
The musician is clearly haunted and finally gets invited to the apartment of the doctor where she explains her ordeal.
Dorota says that she must know if her husband will die because she loves him but is also involved with a good friend.
- I am pregnant and the child is not my husband’s
- I see
- So I need to know if he will live to determine if I will have an abortion
- It is impossible for me to say…I really do not know
And then he elaborates on the situation which is probably where we get as close as possible to the second commandment, for the doctor explains that he has seen cases where the patient recovered miraculously and others where someone died without warning so to say…
There is another stage where the doctor may seem to be playing God, for he is more assured now and he thinks he knows.
I will not say what to avoid spoilers.
But whereas earlier on he refused a definite prognosis, saying that although the situation is critical things could change, at a later moment he has made up his mind.
There are powerful and thought provoking scenes.
One patient talks about coming from “the other side „and how
- The world was disintegrating
He now seems to be taking life as a miracle that does not stop.
It reminds me of the final three minutes in the life of Fyodor Dostoyevsky …The last minutes in the life of the Russian titan were regularly mentioned, for the effect they had had on me and the emphasis which could be placed afterwards on enjoying life, seeing as it is short, what we see before death:
- Dostoyevsky was condemned to death.
- As he was facing the firing squad, he thought he will divide the last three minutes into…well, three:
- The first minute will be used to place the whole life in front of his eyes, from early childhood to death
- For the second minute, the intention was to pass it saying goodbye to members of his family and friends
- The last minute – he will admire a ray of sunshine that was looking wonderfully on a steep church tower nearby
That is the amazing epiphany of the last moments before dying- you can see only then, alas, how extremely beautiful life is and how you wish you lived on a bare rock in the middle of the ocean, which would still be a billion times better than ending it and dying.