Dekalog, episode 8 by Krzysztof Kieslowski, Krzysztof Piesiewicz, and the former is the director of the series
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/
- "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor"
This is a fabulous series that has been included by TIME Magazine on its list of best films –All-TIME 100 movies.
I have written two notes on episodes 9 and 10.
This one is about false witness, as expressed in the eighth commandment.
All the ten episodes are based on the rules given by god to Moses.
Which reminds me of one of the multitude of hilarious scenes in The History of the World according to Mel Brooks:
All this superb comedy is about “alternative facts „as they are called today at the White House, or just absurd propositions.
Only Mel Brooks intention was to make the public laugh, whereas the clique of The Donald is just about spreading lies.
In The History of the World, in one scene, an African American walks near the Roman senate, with a powerful stereo in his arms.
That is blasting out the disco hit of decades ago:
- Won’t you take me to Funky Town
In the scene with the “alternative, jocular Dekalog”, Moses is climbing the mountain and he is somewhat upset:
- Announcer: Moses went to the mountain and God spoketh to him.
- God: Moses, this is the Lord, thy God, commanding you to obey my law. Do you hear me?
- Moses: Yes, I hear you, I hear you... a deaf man could hear you!
- God: What?!
- Moses: Nothing, forget about it, Oh Lord! Why have you chosen me? What would you have me do for you?
- God: I shall give you my laws, and you shall take them unto the people.
- Moses: Yes, Lord!
- Moses: The lord Jehovah has given unto you these fifteen... (drops stone tablet) Oy. Ten! Ten Commandments for all to obey!
The themes of this Dekalogue are not about humor.
They are as Serious As It Gets and worthwhile.
Zofia is a University Professor that is visited by Elzbieta, who has arrived from America, where she has translated works by the teacher, who is also a respected author.
Elzbieta would like to attend to the lectures of Zofia, wherein she wants to record the material and even speaks out.
She mentions a tragic story from the Second World War.
In the first place, there are no names, but the professor quickly identifies those involved.
A Jewish girl was supposed to escape the Holocaust by being taken and sheltered by a family that had agreed to this act.
Only they change their mind and refuse.
We are given details and all those present are described so that Zofia can say that it was her family that did this terrible thing…
- How could they do that?
- And then how can the professor talk about ethics, moral, under the circumstances?
The two women continue the conversation outside the University and the visiting woman is asking the professor:
- How do you teach ethics?
- I don’t tell the students what to think
- I just encourage them to make up their own minds
There are no spoiler alerts, so I think I should not divulge any secrets.
Perhaps suffice it to say that it was not as simple as it looked.
It was not a question of a family promising to save a poor child and then changing their mind and abandoning her.
In class, a student suggested as a possible explanation an imminent threat from the Nazis who could be outside the door.
And the little girl has grown up to be…Elzbieta!