"When the protagonist turns the camera on himself, he realizes that one can only portray the world through oneself… I turn the camera on myself in all my films. Not all the time, perhaps, but often. But I do it in a way so nobody can see it." — Krzysztof Kieślowski

The Decalogue — dir. Krzysztof Kieślowski


"I don’t film metaphors. People only read them as metaphors, which is very good. That’s what I want. I always want to stir people to something. It doesn’t matter whether I manage to pull people into the story or inspire them to analyze it. What is important is that I force them into something or move them in some way. That’s why I do all this—to make people experience something. It doesn’t matter if they experience it intellectually or emotionally. You make films to give people something, to transport them to a world of intuition or a world of the intellect."
Krzysztof KieślowskiJune 27, 1941 — March 13, 1996

"I don’t film metaphors. People only read them as metaphors, which is very good. That’s what I want. I always want to stir people to something. It doesn’t matter whether I manage to pull people into the story or inspire them to analyze it. What is important is that I force them into something or move them in some way. That’s why I do all this—to make people experience something. It doesn’t matter if they experience it intellectually or emotionally. You make films to give people something, to transport them to a world of intuition or a world of the intellect."

Krzysztof Kieślowski
June 27, 1941 — March 13, 1996

Filmmakers photographed by Xavier Lambours.

"The film is about sensibility, presentiments and relationships which are difficult to name, which are irrational. Showing this on film is difficult: if I show too much the mystery disappears; I can’t show too little because then nobody will understand anything. My search for the right balance between the obvious and the mysterious is the reason for all the various versions made in the cutting room. […]"

"At one stage, we had the idea of making as many versions of Véronique as there were cinemas in which the film was to be shown. In Paris, for example, the film was to be shown in seventeen cinemas. So we had the idea to make seventeen different versions. […] We shot enough material to make these versions possible. It would be possible to release this film with the concept that it was, so to speak, handmade. That if you go to a different cinema, you’ll see the same film but in a slightly different version; and if you go to yet another cinema, you’ll see yet another version—seemingly the same film but a little different. Maybe it’ll have a happier ending, or maybe slightly sadder—that’s the chance you take. Anyway, the possibility was there. But as always, of course, it turned out that production absolutely didn’t have the time, and that, in fact, there wasn’t any money for it either. Perhaps the money was less important. The main problem was time. There wasn’t any time left.” — Krzysztof Kieślowski


"Personally, I think that television means solitude while cinema means community. In the cinema, the tension is between the screen and the whole audience and not only between the screen and you. It makes an enormous difference. That is why it’s not true that the cinema is a mechanical toy. 
"It’s a well-known theory that film has twenty-four frames to the second, and that a film is always the same; but that’s not true. Even though the reel might be exactly the same, the film’s entirely different when it’s shown in a huge cinema, to an audience of a thousand, where a certain tension and atmosphere are created in perfect conditions, on a perfect screen, and with perfect sound. It’s a completely different film when shown in a small, smelly cinema in the suburbs, to an audience of four, one of whom might be snoring. It’s a different film. It’s not that you experience it differently. It is different. In this sense, films are hand-made; even though a film can be repeated because the reels are the same, each screening is unrepeatable.” 
— Krzysztof Kieślowski

"Personally, I think that television means solitude while cinema means community. In the cinema, the tension is between the screen and the whole audience and not only between the screen and you. It makes an enormous difference. That is why it’s not true that the cinema is a mechanical toy.

"It’s a well-known theory that film has twenty-four frames to the second, and that a film is always the same; but that’s not true. Even though the reel might be exactly the same, the film’s entirely different when it’s shown in a huge cinema, to an audience of a thousand, where a certain tension and atmosphere are created in perfect conditions, on a perfect screen, and with perfect sound. It’s a completely different film when shown in a small, smelly cinema in the suburbs, to an audience of four, one of whom might be snoring. It’s a different film. It’s not that you experience it differently. It is different. In this sense, films are hand-made; even though a film can be repeated because the reels are the same, each screening is unrepeatable.”

Krzysztof Kieślowski

"I think that a film really only comes into existence in the cutting-room. To shoot is only to collect material, create possibilities. I try to go about it in such a way as to ensure myself as much freedom to maneuver as possible. Of course, editing means sticking two pieces of film together and, on this level, there are a number of principles and rules which you have to follow and sometimes break. But there’s another level to editing and it’s the most interesting one. That is the level of constructing a film. It’s a game with the audience, a way of directing attention, distributing tension. Some directors believe that all these elements are written down in the script. Others believe in the actors, the staging, lights, photography. I believe in that, too, but I also know that the elusive spirit of a film, so difficult to describe, is born only there, in the cutting-room." — Krzysztof Kieślowski

"I think that a film really only comes into existence in the cutting-room. To shoot is only to collect material, create possibilities. I try to go about it in such a way as to ensure myself as much freedom to maneuver as possible. Of course, editing means sticking two pieces of film together and, on this level, there are a number of principles and rules which you have to follow and sometimes break. But there’s another level to editing and it’s the most interesting one. That is the level of constructing a film. It’s a game with the audience, a way of directing attention, distributing tension. Some directors believe that all these elements are written down in the script. Others believe in the actors, the staging, lights, photography. I believe in that, too, but I also know that the elusive spirit of a film, so difficult to describe, is born only there, in the cutting-room." — Krzysztof Kieślowski

Krzysztof Kieślowski on the set of A Short Film About Killing.

Krzysztof Kieślowski on the set of A Short Film About Killing.

The Films of Krzysztof Kieślowski

Personnel | The Scar | Camera Buff | Blind Chance | No End | The Decalogue | A Short Film About Killing | A Short Film About Love | The Double Life of Véronique | Three Colors: Blue • White • Red

"My part of the work is to make the film. Your part is to find something in the film, or perhaps not. For me it’s always important to hear viewers’ interpretations. They turn out to be very different to my intentions. I don’t hide my intentions. I speak about them - but not about my interpretations."
Krzysztof Kieślowski (June 27, 1941 — March 13, 1996)

"My part of the work is to make the film. Your part is to find something in the film, or perhaps not. For me it’s always important to hear viewers’ interpretations. They turn out to be very different to my intentions. I don’t hide my intentions. I speak about them - but not about my interpretations."

Krzysztof Kieślowski (June 27, 1941 — March 13, 1996)