Krzysztof Kieslowski: I'm So-so

on August 05, 1998 by Bridget Byrne
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   Anything additional from or about the late Krzysztof Kieslowski, the Polish director who died in 1997, leaving the film world wanting so much more, must be considered a plus. Brief though "Krzysztof Kieslowski: I'm So-So" is, this documentary is a wondrous tease for those who don't know his movies, and a charming reminder for those who do, about the appeal of his mind's eye. Of course it is not a fully satisfying exploration of his life and his work, but it fulfills its own design and concept, the blueprint for which seems clearly dictated by the subject himself, although via the hands of filmmaker Krzysztof Wierzbicki, a long-time assistant. Kieslowski announced his retirement from filmmaking prior to participating in this little vignette, but his taste and viewpoint shapes this work almost as sharply as when he was an active director creating his own films.
   The film reflects much integral to Kieslowski and his work, though only the briefest of clips are shown from just a few of his movies--a touch of "Red," but no "White" or Blue," for example. Visual reflections are picked up in the choice of backdrops for segments of the interviews, which include a conversation held while walking along a railway platform and a question-and-answer session during which he nuzzles circling horses. Philosophical theories are constant in the witty evasive conversation, which includes such self-analytic comments as "I'm a pessimist"--something he suggests is his one really good characteristic--and "I turn the camera on myself in a way which nobody can see." He also remarks that he's often felt like "leaving my films unfinished."
   This little movie, a soft pencil sketch of a life that should be etched in stone, is an intriguing glimpse through a doorway left slightly ajar. The journey taken through it will probably lead to the video store, for discovery or reassessment of a great filmmaker's life work.    Directed and written by Krzysztof Wierzbicki. Produced by Karen Hjort. Documentary. Polish-language; subtitled. Running time: 56 min.
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