Sonntag, 23. März 2014

A Short Film About Killing / Krótki film o zabijaniu (Krzysztof Kieslowski, 1988)

A disoriented young man kills another for seemingly no reason and is brought to trial.

As the young man pointlessly wanders through the city what struck me most is the strong use of camera filters, drenching the houses and the other people in a very depressing dark olive-green, brownish tone. For today's standard practice of endless digital color grading the vignetting comes off as a bit heavy-handed, but although it took me a while to get used to it, no better stylistic choice could have been made.
(SPOILERS) The most harrowing scene for me was the actual killing of the cab drivers. It is a long scene, drawn out by the fact, that it probably is surprisingly difficult to kill someone. The murder is premeditated, so the audience expects it. But the time it actually takes feels forever - the scene didn't make me wince or turn away, but despite the POVs and the hand camera keeps a documentary quality - which works even better dramatically.
A quick look at the first three minutes of the scene:

As we're in the car, the camera doesn't have a lot of options to move around. The shots in the first part are from the passengers seat, or low angle shots (which I think are very effective). When the attack starts, the camera moves to the other side and gives a bit more freedom to the framing of the strangled driver and his attacker.
When I look at the editing I am quite surprised in it's straightforward approach, few fast edits and the dramaturgy of the murder moves on quite fast with the horn. The first part of the attack takes about one minute, the whole murder takes place in about 8 minutes. In a "regular" film the attacked would lose consciousness quickly and that would be the end of him. Not here: The cabbie is quite a tough cookie and he manages to put his hand on the horn. Unfortunately, he's too late for the bike rider, and the only soul that hears his car 'cry for help', is - ironically - a horse.

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