Directed by: Krzysztof Kieslowski
Starring: Boguslaw Linda, Tadeusz Lomnicki, Boguslawa Pawelec, Marzena Trybala
While Blind Chance (1981) is nowhere near the quality of Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Three Colors trilogy, it’s still a fascinating and occasionally powerful film. It’s easy to understand why the Polish government was so displeased with the movie that the authorities kept it under wraps for six years before allowing to be shown. It hardly presents communism—or life in Poland in general—in what can be construed as a flattering light. The film has a kind of gimmicky premise in that it presents one basic set-up involving a young man running to catch a train, followed by three imagined scenarios. In the first, we see what his life will be like if he catches the train. In the second, we see what happens if he misses the train and, in the process, knocks down a station guard. In the third, we’re given a vision of what happens if he misses the train, but doesn’t collide with the guard. Each of the three scenarios is meant to symbolize the possible future of the country on the whole, and since none of them is particularly enticing, the result is one downbeat movie. The structure is intriguing, especially because there’s a degree of each story spilling over into or crossing paths with the other. But the end result—and the whole idea that seemingly minor details like the missing of a train can change an entire life—is more clever than deep. The film’s ingrained pessimism is finally more than a little wearing, and its ultimate scenario has an ending that feels more than a little like a relic from a bad 1960s art film. Worthwhile, but probably not essential Kieslowski.
Classic World Cinema by Courtyard Gallery will present Blind Chance at 8 p.m. on Friday, March 2, at Phil Mechanic Studios, 109 Roberts St., River Arts District (upstairs in the Railroad Library). Info: 273-3332, www.ashevillecourtyard.com