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Kieslowski on Kieslowski Paperback – April 13, 1995

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber (April 13, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571173284
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571173280
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #617,778 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Kieslowski is frequently cryptic in his responses to journalists, refusing to respond to questions about the meaning of a particular film. But in [this] fascinating new book, he reveals a little more of himself, and while his pessimism sometimes surfaces in odd, self-deprecating ways, the artist's warmth trickles through, too . . . Throughout the book, Kieslowski's practical observations about filmmaking suggest a concern for young filmmakers, an acute mind, a somewhat sad disposition, and a profound skepticism that nevertheless cracks open in the face of art, revealing a man capable of brilliant insight and poetic vision . . . An engrossing read for film buffs, students, or anyone interested in the cultural history of Eastern Europe."— --

"Stok has done a fine job of translating Kieslowski's Polish into idiomatic English without losing his personal tone of voice." --Sight & Sound

About the Author

The great Polish film director Krzysztof Kieslowski (1941-96) graduated from Lodz Film Academy in 1969. His best known films including Red, White, and Blue. Red brought him an Academy Award nomination for Best Director in 1995, White earned the Best Director Prize in Berlin in 1994, and Blue shared the Golden Lion at Venice in 1993.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By S. Park on December 16, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is a well-organized and informative book. While it is based on a series of interviews, the Q&A format is not used; instead, Stok lets Kieslowski narrate in his own words various stages in his life and films he has made. The effect is that of eavesdropping on a chance monologue, or that of a very colloquial autobiography. Although Stok (I think) happens to be the wife of one of Kieslowski's main cameramen, personal sentiments do not get in the way at any point. This book also contains, in addition to the compulsory stills from his documentaries and movies, various other interesting material such as photographs that Kieslowski himself took as a student at Lodz Film School.
The portrait of Kieslowski that emerges is of an overwhelmingly modest, considerate, private, and above all *humane* human being, self-deprecating to the extreme even after his international success as a director. He dismisses his vocation as the worst job in the world, hilarious (issuing directions via microphone and speaker, freezing, to a half-clad Grazyna Szapolowska atop a makeshift tower at 2am) and insignificant(his frustrating administrative experiences as a member of the Polish filmmaking guild). However, you realize that the poignant messages that come through in his films are the result of a unique personal/private sensitivity; he tries to articulate the manner in which outside events touch the individual, and hopes to touch the individual in the audience through his work. You can't reproach him for insisting that "you will never know what is deep inside me, no one will ever know, the experience is mine alone.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 6, 1999
Format: Hardcover
The text and quotes are so well arranged that you accept the whole as a seamless narrative. Reading this book helped take his work from enigmatic to profoundly humanistic, even optimistic. Not a minute of his film is for editing, and not a word from these interviews should be overlooked. One of my favorite reads.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Scott Spires on February 4, 2001
Format: Paperback
Possibly the last of the really great European art film directors discusses his life and work. The tone of this book was a bit of a surprise. Unlike such visionary auteurs as Bergman and Tarkovsky, Kieslowski is funny, sarcastic, and deprecating, both about himself ("I was a complete idiot") and his country ("Poles will willingly drown another Pole in a glass of water"). And the art of cinema comes across here as a somewhat ridiculous chore, with fleeting and intermittent rewards. You may spend some time puzzling over whether Kieslowski is being accurate and sincere, or just having you on.
However, there's a wealth of insight and information in this book, about KK's films, the art of cinema in general, Poland and its history, and the ideas that animated KK throughout his career. If you have yet to discover such great films as "The Decalogue", "The Double Life of Veronique", and "Blind Chance", reading this book will whet your appetite. If you already know them, you'll gain further insights. And this book is just a great read, almost like a first-person confessional novel in its style. Stories like the one about how Kieslowski feigned insanity to avoid military service make it entertaining even if you don't care about movies!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Adam Daniel Mezei on September 3, 2006
Format: Paperback
In his own words, Krzysztof Kieslowski tells you about the agony and the ecstacy of the independent filmmaking process.

The late Polish filmmaker is up to the challenge, delivering his characteristic frankness nestled within the pages of this short retrospective work, narrated in his own words, and magnificently edited (translated, too?) by Danusia Stok.

The book is tailor-made for "idie" filmmaking buffs, and supplies a glimpse into the enticingly magical personality which was Kieslowski's. Eschewing a typical rote autobiographical style, Kieslowski divulges key details about himself via the device of his extensive filmography -- revealing things about his thinking process and the high value he places upon delicate human emotionality through a step-by-step examination of his long filmography.

Spanning his early years as a prominent documentary filmmaker during the stifling years of Polish Communism and state censorship -- especially during the imposition of Marshal Law in Poland during 1980-1 when Kieslowski couldn't work for half a year -- and ending with his magnificent trilogy "Barwy" (Three Colours: Blue, White, Red), we're subjected to a feast of Kieslowski-isms regarding his thoughts pertaining to such diverse notions as:

** casting for acting talent.

** Kieslowski's penchant for making his ENTIRE crew a part of the idea-generating process for his films.

** the nature of artistic filmmaking in Europe compared to commerical filmmaking in the US.

** the demands of time on a filmmaker's personal life.

** the differing range of skills between Western and Polish filmmaking crews.
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