“Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” —Exodus 20:16, King James Version The eighth commandment of the Roman Catholic faith (the ninth in the Protestant) is largely interpreted as “Thou shalt not lie,” but for Kieślowski and Piesiewicz, this commandment creates a moral conundrum that places the subjects, Zofia (Maria Koscialkowska) and Elzbieta (Teresa Marczewska) in an ethical hell. This hell plays out in Zofia’s classroom, where she welcomes Elzbieta — a scholar from New York — to sit in on one of her classes. Zofia is a renowned Polish professor of ethics and Elzbieta has translated her … Continue reading DEKALOG 8


“Thou shalt not steal.” —Exodus 20:15, King James Version “Can you steal something that belongs to you?” — Majka Coming off of an impressive one-two punch with Dekalog Five and Dekalog Six, Dekalog Seven is a surprising — but somewhat understandable — misstep. The story revolves around Majka (Maja Barelkowska), a 20-year-old who has grown to resent her mother, Ewa (Anna Polony), for convincing her to give up her daughter, Ania (Katarzyna Piwowarczyk). When Majka was 16, she engaged in a sexual relationship with Wojtek (Boguslaw Linda), her secondary school teacher, and got pregnant. To avoid a scandal, Wojtek agreed to resign … Continue reading DEKALOG 7


Few ideas are as malleable and fluid as the American Dream. It means many different things to many different people, but the Platonic idea of the American Dream always centers on two things: money and success. One may follow the other, but not necessarily so. Star (20-year-old newcomer Sasha Lane) is obviously seeking money — she has none — but what she really wants is the thrill of success and the comfort of inclusion. We don’t know much about Star’s upbringing, save for a smattering of uncomfortable suggestions: Star is dirt poor and raising her brother and sister while a … Continue reading AMERICAN HONEY


Rachel (Emily Blunt) has problems. As she rides the train from Manhattan out to White Plains, NY, she gazes wistfully out her window at all those pretty houses full of pretty people living their pretty lives. How nice it would be to be one of those pretty people, Rachel thinks as she takes another swig of vodka. Rachel used to be one of those pretty people, but that was before Rachel started slamming water bottle vodka on the train. Rachel turned to the bottle a few years ago when she found out that she couldn’t have children, and her husband, … Continue reading THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN