Friday, 23 December 2011
Blind Chance [1981/1987]
Most people might be more aware of Run Lola Run than Blind Chance, but cinephiles ought to know that the template for the pulsating thriller by Tom Twyker was provided by this Krzysztof Kieslowski gem. Despite being one of his earliest movies as well as one of the few plot-dependent works of his career (owing to the unique concept it relies on in driving the narrative forward), most of the archetypes that we’ve come to identify his movies with are present here – sensitive storytelling and observations, a strongly palpable sense of humanism permeating the film, great character arcs, excellent depiction of the mundaneness of everyday life, narrative looping, among others. The film’s crucial moment occurs when Witek, a young Polish medical student who has taken a break from academia in order to sort out his priorities in life, is running like hell in order to catch a departing train, and the director takes us to three distinct and alternate futures for the young man based on the outcomes there at the railway station. The first arc sees him becoming an important keg in the Party or establishment, while in the second he takes the diametrically opposite route by becoming a part of the underground political resistance; in the third he chooses the most conventional path by opting to complete his medical degree. On one hand this gently paced and beautifully scored movie managed to be a terrific commentary and perhaps even an underhanded satire on the country’s socio-politic climate (a striking departure given the relatively more covert political stances of most of his renowned works) – which resulted in it being suppressed for 7 years by the Polish censor board, while on the other it raised haunting and pertinent philosophical questions on the role of choice vis-à-vis chance in shaping one’s life.
p.s. My latest review of this film can be found here.
Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski
Genre: Drama/Political Drama/Psychological Drama