Decalogue Five: A Short Film about Killing, Sin, and Community

In Eva Badowska & Francesca Parmeggiani (eds.), Of Elephants and Toothaches: Ethics, Politics, and Religion in Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Decalogue. New York, NY, USA: Fordham University. pp. 122-139 (2016)
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Decalogue Five tells the story of Waldemar Rekowski (Jan Tesarz), a jaded taxi driver, Piotr Balicki (Krzysztof Globisz), an idealistic, newly-licensed attorney, and Jacek Lazar (Mirosław Baka), a young and troubled drifter, whose lives intersect with one another as a result of fate, or contingent circumstance, or some combination of both. With brutal detail and detachment, the film depicts Jacek’s seemingly aimless wanderings through Warsaw, his senseless killing of Waldemar, his interactions with Piotr (his court-appointed attorney), and his eventual execution after a failed defense in court. Like other films within the Decalogue series, Five illustrates what happens when human beings are forced to confront ethical dilemmas (and thus are forced to confront themselves as responsible moral decision makers) in a world that seems to offer little in the way of moral direction, meaning, purpose, and community with others. Discussing the overarching aim of the Decalogue series as a whole, Krzysztof Kies´lowski refers to the sense of alienation, aimlessness, and loneliness that often describes the human condition
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