Friday, May 29, 2020

2020 Blind Spot Series: Blind Chance

Written and directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski, Przypadek (Blind Chance) is the story of a medical student whose journey leads him to a series of encounters as it play into the fates of his life upon trying to catch a train to Warsaw. The film is a drama that follows a man who tries to deal with his political ideals and personal happiness during the period of Communist Poland as he copes with the choices he has. Starring Boguslaw Linda, Tadeusz Lominicki, Boguslawa Pawelec, Zbigniew Zapasiewicz, Jacek Borkowski, and Monica Gozdzik. Przypadek is an evocative and compelling film from Krzysztof Kieslowski.

The film is the simple story of a medical student who runs after a train on its way to Warsaw as three different scenario occurs that would play into his fate. It is a film about a man’s decision as he endures a lot in his life as it leads to him chasing this train to Warsaw following the death of his father. Krzysztof Kieslowski’s screenplay is a study of not just fate but also the situations the film’s protagonist Witek (Boguslaw Linda) would endure as each scenario has him running at the train station as he would bump into an old woman who would drop a coin for a man to pick up to buy beer as Witek would also bump into him. Each scenario would have Witek take part in something that allows him to be someone of importance in some form of social or political faction while would also be attached to a woman in that scenario that would drive his decisions and such.

Kieslowski’s direction has some gorgeous visuals in a film that largely relies on simplicity as it plays to the fates of Witek. Shot on various locations in Poland including Lodz and Warsaw, Kieslowski captures the life of this young man though it opens with a flashback montage of Witek’s life as he’s screaming as he’s waking up in an airplane thinking about his life. It then cuts to the news about his father’s death where Kieslowski maintains an intimacy in the medium shots and close-ups as it play into Witek’s reaction in the world around him and such. Each scenario opens with the scene of Witek running into a train as each brief encounter with the old woman and the drunk guy all play into his fate as there is this element of suspense in trying to catch this train. Each different scenario has Kieslowski not only use wide shots to establish the location that Witek is in but also to play into the uncertainty of what he’s going to do. Even as it play into the world of early 1980s Polish politics during the era of communism.

Kieslowski’s direction also maintains a different tone for each scenario as each one ends with a slow-motion shot as it would lead to the next scenario and so on towards the third and final one. Kieslowski keeps the narrative straightforward while also playing into these decisions that Witek has to make. All of which kind of revolves around some form of conformity where the first one relates to being part of a government, the second has him be part of a movement, and the third relates to things before his father’s passing as well as a compromise of the two different ideals. Yet, each story also ends with Witek possibly catching a plane to Paris, France as it shows what he might’ve accomplished or a sense of failure. Kieslowski’s direction also play into characters what Witek would meet but also those he would briefly encounter as if he known them from another moment in time or had just seen them and don’t know who they are. Especially in the film’s final moments as it play into the ultimate fate that Witek has chosen as well as those he had probably never met. Overall, Kieslowski crafts a rapturous film about the fates of a young medical student and the decisions he would make.

Cinematographer Krzysztof Pakulski does brilliant work with the film’s cinematography with its usage of low-key lighting for some of the interior/exterior scenes at night as well as the emphasis on natural lighting for many of the scenes set in the day. Editor Elzbieta Kurkowska does excellent work with the editing as it is largely straightforward that allow shots to linger for a while there are also some rhythmic cuts to play into the drama and suspense. Production designer Andrezj Rafal Waltenberger and set decorator Borzyslawa Chmielewska do amazing work with the different places that Witek would go into including his own apartment, the homes of the women he would meet and fall for, and some of the places he would work at. Costume designer Agnieszka Domaniecka does fantastic work with the look of the clothes that Witek would meet as it play into the choices he makes in his life as well as the people he meet in the different kinds of clothes they were to suit the environment he’s in.

The makeup work of Teodor Grmaszewski is terrific for the look of some of the women that Witek meet as well as some of the eccentric characters he would meet in the film. The sound work of Michael Zarnecki does superb work with the atmosphere of the locations including the train station as well as some of the quieter moments that occur in the film. The film’s music by Wojciech Kilar is incredible for its somber string-orchestral score that play into the fates of Witek as it is one of the film’s major highlights.

The film’s wonderful cast feature some notable small roles from Jerzy Stuhr as a party organizer, Jacek Kaczmarski as a protest singer, Zygmunt Hubner as a medical school dean, Irena Byrska as Witek’s pro-communist aunt, Tadeusz Lomnicki as a mentor of Witek, Adam Ferency as a wheelchair-bound pastor named Stefan, Jacek Sas-Uhrynowski as an old friend of Witek in Daniel, Jacek Borkowski as an anti-communist organizer named Marek that Witek befriends, and Zbigniew Zapasiewicz as a government official named Adam who would put Witek into some uncomfortable situations. The trio performances of Boguslawa Pawelec, Marzena Trybala, and Monika Gozdzik are remarkable in their respective roles as Czuszka, Werka, and Olga as three different women who would offer Witek different paths in his life with Pawelec as the more political-driven Czuska who was an old lover of Witek, Trybala as the more spiritual Werka who is Daniel’s sister, and Gozdzik as the more reserved Olga who was also a schoolmate of Witek in medical school. Finally, there’s Boguslaw Linda in a phenomenal performance as Witek as a young man who is trying to catch a train as he deals with the choices he made when he catches the train as well as what happens when he misses the train as he copes with all of the ideals and choices he makes as it is just this chilling yet intoxicating performance.

Przypadek is a phenomenal film from Krzysztof Kieslowski that features an incredible performance from Boguslaw Linda. Along with its naturalistic visuals, themes of fate and choices, immense character study, and Wojciech Kolar’s haunting score. The film is definitely a mesmerizing look into the life of a man told in three different scenarios as it play into the world he’s in through the choices he makes as well as the futility of these choices. In the end, Przypadek is a sensational film from Krzysztof Kieslowski.

Krzysztof Kieslowski Films: (Personnel) – (The Scar) – (Camera Buff) – (The Calm) – (Short Working Day) – (No End) – (A Short Film About Killing) – (A Short Film About Love) – The Decalogue - The Double Life of Veronique - Trois Couleurs-Bleu - Trois Couleurs-Blanc - Trois Couleurs-Rouge

© thevoid99 2020


Jay said...

Half the time you introduce me to something brand new.

keith71_98 said...

Krzysztof Kieslowski - such an intense talent. So glad to see someone writing about him. This is actually one I still need to see. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

thevoid99 said...

@Jay-There's a lot of films to discover as I feel like I've only scratched the surface as there's so much more to cover.

@keith71_98-There's a lot of films by Kieslowski that I need to see as I've already done the The Decalogue, The Double Life of Veronique and the Trois Couleurs trilogy. I want more.