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Tim Cawkwell's Cinema

Intelligible writing on intelligent film, plus some poetry

KIEŚLOWSKI BEFORE KIEŚLOWSKI: the making of a metaphysical film-maker

March 2016

A timeline putting side by side KK's biographical details, a list of his films and contemporary events in Poland is available here as a downloadable pdf.

framing hands sculpture

on KK's grave

This essay can be downloaded as a pdf here. It is 5,600 words long over 8 pages.


  1. K’s high reputation – his influence – the label of ‘metaphysical’ – K’s God as outlined in 1993 interview – ‘metaphysical’ as getting behind physical appearances – ‘metaphysical’ because of presence of a God-like figure, e.g. in Three Colours: Red.

  2. K’s work in documentaries prior to 1980 – particular circumstances illustrate a larger universe – ‘metaphysical’ as in The Metaphysical Poets of 17th-century England – TS Eliot – K’s interest in ill-health as metaphor – K’s documentaries about patients in hospitals, and Hospital about doctors.

  3. K’s career as a documentarist (1967-80) – importance of Kazimierz Karabasz – contemporary Poland – K’s questioning of system – K’s humanism – The Office (1967) and Kafka.

  4. K’s economy of narrative and of editing – his structuralism.

  5. K and Camus’ ‘metaphysical rebellion’.