At Arava Film fest, a tribute to Dekalog’s Kieslowski

‘I am an intermediary between [Krzysztof] Kieslowski and the Israeli public, and I am especially proud to bring his work to young people, ”said Piotr Jaxa, guest photographer and cinematographer. Arava International Film Festival, speaking after watching an episode of Dekalog, a masterpiece by his late friend and collaborator Kieslowski. The festival runs until November 13.

“Looking Decalogue On the Arava screen, I was so happy to discover elements that are so accurate, a story that is so clever and so beautifully told, ”said Jaxa.

Decalogue is a 10-part series of one-hour films screened at the festival based on the 10 commandments, made in 1988 and set in contemporary Poland. “In every scene, the images tell the story,” said Jaxa. “Every time I see it, I am amazed at how modern it looks, how well written, how well acted, how beautifully filmed.”

Kieslowski is considered one of the greatest directors of the 20th century. His films include the series Three Colors (whose first installment, Blue with Juliette Binoche, won the Golden Lion at the Venice International Film Festival) and The Double Life of Veronique.

He and Jaxa met in 1965 and worked together until the end of their lives, and the festival features an exhibition of Jaxa’s photos, Dekalog: point of view, which combines photographs of the neighborhood where Dekolog is set with stills from all 10 films, as well as behind-the-scenes photos of Kieslowski at work.

The scene at last year’s Arava Film Festival (credit: EDWARD KAPROV)

The exhibition is on display at the Ashush Gallery in the heart of the Tzukim artist village, and was curated by Hannah Rothschild. Irena Strzalkowska, manager of the Kieslowski production company, also attended the exhibition.

The Arava International Film Festival, which this year celebrates its 10th anniversary, was created by film producer Eyal Shiray, festival director, in collaboration with the Arava Tichona Regional Council. The Kieslowski tribute is presented with the support of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute and the Polish Institute in Tel Aviv.

“For us, the Kieslowski tribute, which combines cinematographic and plastic works of art … allows viewers a variety of perspectives not only on human complexity, but also on the tremendous importance of the cinematic experience and our commitment to continue it. “said Shiray, who also produced the exhibit.

As jackals howled in the background, Jaxa, who has visited Israel many times, spoke about the exhibit and Kieslowski’s life and work.

“He was a modest person and he worked hard,” Jaxa said, recalling how the two met when they were students at the Polish National Film School in Lodz. Kieslowski “knew exactly what he wanted … He hired actors and a crew that he trusted, and they all gave their best. The actors always gave their best performances for him … His most important collaborator was the cinematographer, he always knew exactly how he wanted to use the camera to tell the story ”.

Currently working on a cinematographer portrait book and a film about a Jewish family during the Holocaust, Jaxa said she learned her craft on the Kieslowski sets.

“What I do as a cinematographer, I am a translator, I have to translate words into images. The more precise I am, the better the movie is. I work this way so that everyone doesn’t see how good a cinematographer I am. I work like this, as I learned with Kieslowski, to give power to history ”.

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