From a Night Porter’s Point of View [DOCUMENTARY]


Director: Krzysztof Kieślowski
Country/Year: Poland, 1979
Duration: 17’

Kieślowski spent a few years searching for the right hero for this film – he wanted to stigmatize a social issue symptomatic of the times the document was made in. For the main protagonist, a factory security guard, rules are more important than people. In his own words, he loves to control others. He nags young couples who meet in the park, fishermen without a licence or workers of his own factory. Kieslowski first recorded the statements of the night porter on a tape recorder and then arranged the aforementioned situations. The documentary was shown at film festivals and during special screenings, but the director never agreed to air it on television, so as not to hurt his protagonist. Poor quality Orwo color film was used, with color distortion emphasizing the exaggeration of the filmed situation. “This watchman is a deformation of humanity, and we wanted color to underline the twisted world that surrounds him” – Kieslowski commented in his autobiography.

About the director:

Krzysztof Kieslowski (1941-1996) – a world famous director, who began his career as a documentalist. He was among the authors of the so-called “Cinema of Moral Anxiety” who, towards the end of the 1970s, decided to point their cameras closer to reality. They wanted to show real people and real problems through screen fiction. Man, his ethical choices and existential problems, was the centre of Kieslowski’s work. The director created the unique TV series “The Decalogue”, which was an attempt at a modern interpretation of the ten commandments – the basic ethical rules upon which Christian and Judaism culture are formed. Krzysztof Piesiewicz, an attorney, was Kieslowski’s regular collaborator, with whom he wrote most of his screenplays. In the later period of his work, the director became interested in metaphysics, a feature of the films he produced in France in the 1990s: “The Double Life of Veronique” and the trilogy “Three Colours: Blue, White, Red”, which symbolically correspond to three colors of the French flag.

Most important films:

  • 1979 “Camera Buff”>
  • 1981 “Blind Chance”
  • 1984 “No End”
  • 1987 “A Short Film About Killing”
  • 1988 “A Short Film About Love”
  • 1991 “The Double Life of Veronique”
  • 1993 “Three Colours: White”

Author: Mikołaj Góralik
Translation to English: Katarzyna Matej