The movie was enthusiastically received not only in Poland but also in Europe. It became an event at Cannes festival and has strengthened the international fame of Krzysztof Kieslowski, who began to be compared to such artistic “giants” as Bergman. When the movie was shot in 1987, death penalty was still practiced in Poland – that is why the director could faithfully reconstruct the course of execution. We can watch on-screen detailed
preparations to execution of the sentence: executioner arrives on the scene to check the proper functioning of gallows, oil the mechanism, and set up the bowl, where excrement of the executed will run down, etc.
Although “A Short Film…” is firmly placed in the apathetic atmosphere of decadent Polish People’s Republic, it significantly goes beyond that historical context. Empathic narrative about a man, sensitivity to the details of everyday life, and penetrating analysis of the relationship between an individual and the society.
Tadeusz Lubelski “Prawdziwy partner. Francuska krytyka o Kieslowskim” (A true partner. French critics on Kieslowski)
“A Short Film About Killing, it is first and foremost about that invisible barrier which separates us from any and all reality, even from ourselves, and which prevents us from living fully, makes us alien, absent, zombie (13). On the other hand, Philippe Rouyer reviewing Dekalog, sześć (Decalogue, six) emphasizes the psychological aspect of the relationships with others. Glass panes always separating Tomek from Magda are glass walls, which
symbolize separation of the character, rather then real objects”.
Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Decalogue is a cycle of ten feature films for television shot between 1988 and 1989
Each part is almost an hour long and is a reference to one of the Ten Commandments, but not a literal reference. Episodes V and VI of the Decalogue became known earlier as cinema movies – Krotki film o zabijaniu (A Short Film About Killing) and Krótki film o miłości (A Short Film About Love) earned Kieslowski international recognition. The movies were shot in cooperation with the screenwriter, Krzysztof Piesiewicz.