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After Kieślowski

The Legacy of Krzysztof Kieślowski

Edited by Steven Woodward

Publication Year: 2009

Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Kie?lowski died unexpectedly in March 1996 at precisely the moment he had reached the height of his career and gained a global audience for his work with the Three Colors trilogy (1993–94). Since his death he has been hailed as one of the greatest and most influential directors of all time, elevated to the elite of world cinema alongside Jean Renoir, Robert Bresson, Federico Fellini, Yasujiro Ozu, Max Ophüls, and Andrei Tarkovsky. In After Kie?lowski, leading contributors diverge from the typical analysis of Kie?lowski’s work to focus on his legacy in films made after his death, including those based on his scripts and ideas and those made entirely by other filmmakers. Kie?lowski’s rich legacy is rooted in not only a very significant body of early work made before his breakthrough films but another trilogy of films that he had been working on prior to his death, several of which have gone on to be produced. Furthermore, actors and assistant directors involved with Kie?lowski also made films that develop his earlier, incomplete projects or that derive thematically and stylistically from his work. After Kie?lowski considers Kie?lowski’s legacy from three broad perspectives—the Polish, the European, and the global. Contributors trace his direct influence on filmmakers in Poland and Europe, including Jerzy Stuhr, Krzysztof Zanussi, Emmanel Finkiel, Julie Bertucelli, and Tom Tykwer, as well as points of thematic coincidence between his work and that of Jean-Luc Godard, P. T. Anderson, David Lynch, Michael Haneke, Abbas Kiarostami, and Paul Haggis. This collection also traces the reemergence of Kie?lowski’s unique visual signature in films by Ridley Scott, Santosh Sivan, John Sayles, and Julian Schnabel, and his highly original use of television serial-narrative form that is echoed in at least two major American television series, HBO’s Six Feet Under and ABC’s Lost. Examining Kie?lowski’s legacy is a way of thinking both about the unique features of Kie?lowski’s work and about issues that are now at the heart of contemporary filmmaking. Film scholars and students will appreciate this groundbreaking volume.

Published by: Wayne State University Press

Series: Contemporary Approaches to Film and Media Series

Title Page

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Half-Title Page

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix

Tracing the global legacy of a filmmaker like Krzysztof Kieślowski would be impossible for a single, isolated critic. As the editor of a volume that has drawn on the much greater expertise of the other ten contributors, I thank every one of them...

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pp. 1-16

This collection of essays investigates two aspects of the legacy of Krzysztof Kieślowski (1941-96): films produced after his death by other filmmakers using his scripts and ideas; and the prescient thematic, stylistic, and philosophical preoccupations particular...

Part I: The Polish Legacy

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pp. 17-80

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1. Still Alive: Kieślowski's Influence on Post-Communist Polish Cinema

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pp. 19-33

During his last public appearance, on 24 February 1996, Krzysztof Kieślowski commented on the reasons behind his self-imposed retirement from film-making, which had been officially announced earlier, during the making of the...

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2. Living On: From Kieślowski to Zanussi

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pp. 34-48

Perhaps the most nebulous but all-pervasive phenomenon that underwrites creative bonds between artists of any kind is that of influence. Yet, what or whom writers, poets, painters, or filmmakers may recognize consciously as having a formative...

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3. Turning Director: Jerzy Stuhr Does Kieślowski

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pp. 49-65

In mapping out the constellations of Krzysztof Kieślowski's legacy, Jerzy Stuhr holds a peculiar place. His career in film intersected with Kieślowski's over an eighteen-year period, and Kieślowski's influence on him has been such that critics have questioned...

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4. Form Is the Key, and Lessons in Kieślowski: An Interview with Jerzy Stuhr

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pp. 66-80

This interview was conducted in person in a two-hour session on Friday, 17 February 2006, a sunny winter day, in Jerzy Stuhr's office at the State Theater School (PWST), which is next to Krak's magnificent medieval old-town square, the biggest...

Part II: The European Legacy

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pp. 81-146

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5. After Kieślowski: Voyages in European Cinema

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pp. 83-98

This chapter explores Kieślowski's legacy in two senses. Specifically, I am concerned with his influence on two directors who worked as assistant directors on the set of films in the Three Colors trilogy. These directors, Emmanuel Finkiel and Julie Bertuccelli...

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6. Social Sense: KrzysztofKieślowski and Michael Haneke

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pp. 99-112

The deeply aestheticized humanity of Kieślowski's last, French films may seem to share little with the hostile world portrayed by Michael Haneke. But the two directors have much in common, not merely in the paths they took from home-grown television...

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7. Just Gaming? Kieślowski's Blind Chance, Tykwer's Run Lola Run,and a Note on Heaven

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pp. 113-126

Debates on the interrelationship of art and games sometimes pose the question of the degree of possible homology and conflict between those two time-based and visually oriented forms, the film and the video game. For instance, in his work on the nature...

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8. The Picture of Marriage: Godard's Contempt and Kieślowski's White

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pp. 127-146

Polish critics who decry Kieślowski's late non-Polish features on the basis of their elision of the material world, their exclusion of politics, and their aesthetic framing of suffering ignore how these films effectively engage with the larger European film-making...

Part III. The Global Legacy

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pp. 147-225

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9. Kieślowski's Visual Legacy

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pp. 149-164

Very few narrative film directors create visual worlds that are strikingly and unmistakably their own. Those directors who do create such worlds usually either have a background in photography or visual art (Von Sternberg, Kurosawa, Kubrick...

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10. Kieślowski Crosses the Atlantic

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pp. 165-185

Krzysztof Kieślowski typically discussed America through tossed-off sardonic comments laced with grudging admiration.1 Despite his cynicism, Kieślowski considered "third-rate American cowboy adventures" and various American films among his formative...

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11. Kieślowski and Kiarostami: A Metaphysical Cinema

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pp. 186-201

Kieślowski has been described as a metaphysical filmmaker on more than one occasion. That designation certainly becomes evident when his work is compared with that of other filmmakers who similarly strive to represent the ineffable features of human...

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12. The Decalogue and the Remaking of American Television

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pp. 202-225

What is the Decalogue, and what is its legacy? When critics discuss Kieślowski's 1988 series, they often discount or ignore its status as a work of television. Instead, the program is described as "ten films" or "an extraordinary cinematic...


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pp. 227-229


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pp. 231-247

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780814338384
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814333266

Page Count: 264
Illustrations: 24
Publication Year: 2009

Series Title: Contemporary Approaches to Film and Media Series