Dekalog 4 hangs upon the Commandment, “Honour thy Father and Mother”. In the familiar apartment block, teenage Anka (Adrianna Biedrzynska) has lived with her father Michal (Janusz Gajos) all her life. Their bond is very close considering that her mother has been dead soon after she was born. Even the existence of a friend Jarek (Tomasz Kozlowicz) closer to her in age has not hurt the relationship. Her father leaves for abroad and she discovers a letter addressed to her, with instructions that it is only to be opened after Michal’s death. In succumbing to the temptation and breaking his command she realizes her own relationship with both have changed. Personal desire of Anka compete with the moral obligations imposed on her by her father and also the society and in violation there are consequences. Anka finds a second letter, addressed directly to Anka in her mother’s handwriting. When Michal reappears, she confronts him with the contents and thereafter that bond which had held so securely for long is broken forever.
Dekalog 4 deals with sexual love and when it is between May-December it is treading on thin ice of social conventions. Given the family structure in which this is expressed the result could be explosive indeed.
‘Thou shalt not kill.’
A state is a vast machinery where man is a cog that enmeshes with other parts to keep it running. Some are small and others have much more importance. The Fifth segment deals with three such cogs whose lives are bound to meet. Jacek (Miroslaw Baka) is one of the luckless youths with a mean streak. The middle-aged taxi driver (Jan Tesarz) is the second and Piotr (Krzysztof Globisz), a young and idealistic lawyer is the other. The cabdriver picks up Jacek and heads out of town; behind, Jacek fingers a cord, nervous yet determined to kill. In a horrifying act, all the more brutal for its mindless nature the taxidriver is killed. There are two deaths in this film in fact, one reckless and the other legal. Both are executed without an iota of compassion. Do two deaths set thus in juxtapposition cancel each other out? What follows is a sort of carnaval where Law takes its course with regards to the condemned man while his failed defence lawyer Piotr looks on.
Dekalog 6 (1988)
“Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery”is a commandment that needs be examined afresh considering how lack of living space bears upon ordinary people in Warsaw to settle for concrete high rise apartments where privacy is often lacking. Voyeurism was practiced then as now. Of course Susannah had to deal with the elders and Bethsheba, with David, a royal admirer. But in the modern times couples copulate under the very noses of everyone else. All one needs is to have a yen ‘for watching how others live across the block.’ Tomek (Olaf Linde Lubaszenko) who works in the local post office spends his free time spying on Magda (Grazyna Szapolowska) and her succession of lovers. Lust in the eyes calls for desperate measures and Tomek does what he can with all the skills in his possession. He can make silent phone calls or even disguise as her milkman. When his brief contacts however unsatisfying, feeds his lust, one day he chases Magda down after creating a crisis at the post office. He pours out his lust that repels Magda. But that night Magda titillates Tomek, and coolly tells her lover of the peeping Tom. Following this there is a fistfight in the carpark. Magda doesn’t believe in love but in sex.
Irony of love is such Magda becomes now obsessed. Love redeems and lust enslaves. But given the flawed human nature condemned to guilt, loneliness and fear even lusty Magda must own up to her role and be vulnerable.