MovieChat Forums > Blind Chance (1987) Discussion > Opening scenes - SPOILER

Opening scenes - SPOILER


Can anyone help me make sense of the opening? Of course you only understand why Witek is screaming at the very start when you see the final moments of version 3 (what an ending!!!!), but what I want to know is... directly after the screaming we see a number of people bloodied, lying on the floor of some building - is this a hospital? - the airport? Is Witek one of them? Are these people rescued from the plane or people injured in a buidling hit by the exploding plane? If anyone could shed any light on this I would be most greatful!

Never been alone with a man before, even with my dress on. With my dress off it's most unusual.

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[deleted]

directly after the screaming we see a number of people bloodied, lying on the floor of some building - is this a hospital? - the airport? Is Witek one of them? Are these people rescued from the plane or people injured in a buidling hit by the exploding plane? If anyone could shed any light on this I would be most greatful!

Kieslowski's movies are enigmatic and "Blind Chance" is the "bible" of the Polish cinema of moral anxiety(a term Kieslowski disliked). Unfortunately many scenes in his early movies can be elusive if one doesn't know much about the socio-political events of the communist/socialist era in Poland. The screenplay is constructed as a web of connections---blind chances. Here are some of them.

Witek was born in June 1956 during the first post WWII general strike against stalinist regime in Poznan, Poland. As far as I remember, he was saying he remembered being born. The scene in the hospital is a connection between life and death--- Witek being born amidst the victims massacred by the commie military and militia forces. His life path is set in similar political circumstances before August 1980(Solidarity strike).

Witek's father's dying in the hospital of cancer and his last puzzling words to his son are " you don't have to "(be a decent man).

Witek studies medicine practising in the hospital prosectorium.

The first "blind chance" is tied to meeting Werner, a guy who lived through 1956 and compromised his beliefs to get out of prison. Thanks to his introduction to a powerful friend in the party Witek gets infected with political idealism and joins the party to achieve his goals.

One of the alternative road lives of the main character, when it seems he made the right moral choice, by remaining politically neutral ends in death on the plane. This scene eclipses the movie. No matter what kind of choices Witek makes he never reaches France.




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Why was getting to France so important? I was so immensely confused by this film.

Voting History: http://www.imdb.com/mymovies/list?l=26598711

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Even though Blind Chance ended up being shelved for years, it´s kind of surprising it got made at all at that time - considering that it explicitly references both the 1956 massacre and the 1980 strike and seems rather sympathetic towards the anti-communist movement. How did a script like that get greenlighted by the censors? There´s no way a movie as ideologically waywards as this could have been made in Soviet Union at any time before Perestroika. And what is also highly surprising, is the permissive attitude towards nudity in Polish films - this is already the second motion picture that I´ve seen from communist Poland to feature full frontal nudity (the first one´s Wajda´s 1970 Landscape After Battle... and 1970, this kind of thing was rather rare even in Hollywood).



"facts are stupid things" - Ronald Reagan

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it´s kind of surprising it got made at all at that time


Actually the period between August 1980(first Solidarity strikes) and the martial law felt like a different reality. There was a multitude of political cabarets that would openly mock everything. They've existed in the 70's during a far more relaxed period under Edward Gierek and the trick was to agree to whatever the censor wants and then perform the way it was intended anyway. The most famous and profound event was the First(and the last) Festival of Truthful Song in Gdansk (20–22 VIII 1981)to commemorate the anniversary of the events that led to the founding of Solidarity.

The government was virtually paralyzed. Solidarity membership reached 10 mln people(1/3 of all adults). Just imagine people's power when Walesa declared a general strike and on March 27, 1981, to give them a taste of what was coming, the whole country came into a halt for 4 hours during a warning strike. 14 mln people stopped working. I remember not going to school that day and my parents not going to work.

Still, censorship was alive and well but it was much easier to make politically/morally charged movies like "Blind Chance" and "Interrogation" that was not only shelved but also destroyed once Martial Law commenced(only one copy was smuggled outside of the country and released in 1989).

A for nudity, it started in the 60's with Brigitte Bardot and it never stopped ;)

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I recently watched an interview in which Andrzej Wajda talked a lot about how they got films made. As you say, they could get green-lighted using scripts tailored to the state censorship standards, and then do whatever they wanted on the set. Wajda said productions were often unsupervised, but the final products were reviewed and banned as the government saw fit. Part of the whole point was to keep people employed, so productions could be dragged out for ages, and money kept on coming in to keep everyone going.

The Second-Run release of Interrogation includes a short retrospective doc with Ryszard Bugajski, Krystyna Janda, Wajda and a few others. Bugajski said that Interrogation was vaulted, but not destroyed. It was well-preserved with some other banned films in a climate-controlled part of the film studio.

The Interrogation DVD doesn't look at all like it was sourced from the crappy VHS copy that was smuggled out of Poland and used as the source for black market releases during the ban.


She gave me a smile so sweet you could have poured it on your pancakes.

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Bugajski said that Interrogation was vaulted, but not destroyed.


True. The whole story is fascinating. Jaruzelski's government intended to destroy the tapes but Bugajski found out and appealed to the minister of culture. In order to keep the pretense of not being perceived as dictatorship they promised to put it in a vault and even made a matrix copy. However, way before that, on the onset of the Martial Law, Bugajski, scared of loosing the film, ran to the studio to hide the tapes under snow covered bricks on the nearby construction site, courtesy of a friendly engineer. Later he took the material out, edited it and secretly copied it on a VHS tape right under the nose of the unsuspecting authorities, put a different title on it and smuggled it out of there. Illegal copies were made secretly and passed around.

I saw such a copy of a copy of a copy in 1985(speaking of crappiness)which had a profound effect on me. My uncle was incarcerated for nearly 11 years in various stalinist prisons but this subject was a taboo in my family because it opened unimaginably deep wounds. The official 1989 release was produced from the original movie therefore the quality of the DVD is great.

Bugajski made three other movies about stalinist crimes in Poland, most recently "General Nil" about a revered Polish WWII hero, Gen. Emil Fieldorf who was murdered by the communists on false accusations. What's sad and outrageous is that the British Government refused to extradite the prosecutor responsible for the trial that sentenced Fieldorf and many others to death. Imagine what would happen if Israel demanded an extradition of a Nazi judge and Britain refused.

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it's quite a tale, and amazing we get to see some of these banned films

did you want to talk with your family about the stalinist prisons, and they wouldn't due to it being a taboo subject, or were the wounds so deep that even you didn't want to get into such topics?


It's alright Cissy. I sterilized the scissors.

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Generally, both war and post-war period were rarely mentioned on either side of my family. They went through so much pain and loss that they wanted to forget.

When I found out about my uncle, I wanted to know more but wouldn't dare to disturb his peace of mind. When the post-stalinist government was rehabilitating AK fighters and some officials showed up with a medal for bravery at my uncle's door, he threw them out and told them that he didn't want their medals; he just wanted to be left alone.

I only heard my uncle tell one story from his war times. For me, it was traumatic enough to hear that my beloved, teddy-bear like uncle, who spent most of his time gardening, killed other human beings. With a disbelief and naivete of a 8 year old, I asked him: "Uncle, you killed people??!!". He looked at me and said: "There was war, a horrible time when people had to do horrible things. Come to my garden to help me pick up strawberries and collect snails."

I found out the rest from my mom: his life in hiding and capture, one year in a cell filled with water and torture in Wronki- the most cruel stalinist investigative prison, death sentence at 23, another trial where his sentence was changed into life in prison, hard labor in a quarry, moving to yet another prison, telling the love of his life(a comrade in-arms) to forget him and settle her life to stay safe, her arrest(she refused to accept his wish relayed to her by my grandma and came to visit him in the prison with my little mom as a prop who was abandoned in front of the prison when they took the woman in), 7 years later another sentence change - 25 years in prison, release in 1956 at 33 - 15 years of his youth erased by the war and prison. After this I couldn't bring myself to open his wounds out of selfish curiosity. And then he suddenly died at 66. I was waiting for the right moment that never came.

Oddly, last year, the old Gestapo/stalinist prison in my city where my uncle was kept all those years was demolished and replaced with a shopping mall. I was upset but my mom was relieved and so was her best friend's husband who as a child stood in front of that prison calling his dad, hoping to see his face in the window for the last time. His young father was picked up in a roundup and was waiting to be publicly executed by the Germans together with dozens of other completely innocent unfortunates.

So, when I watched "Interrogation" for the first time, to me it was the most important film about that era that indirectly also spoke about people like my uncle who were willing to sacrifice their lives to fight the enemy but found themselves on the wrong side of history.





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[deleted]

> why Witek is screaming...

I think that's when Witek realizes that he'll die in the airplane. A second later the airplane explodes.

> we see a number of people bloodied, lying on the floor of some building - is this a hospital? - the airport?

I tought that it's an hospital. I don't know why there are lots of blood, but I guess that the scene is the birth of Witek, and the woman on the floor (we only see his legs) is Witek's mother, so the scene is that Witek saw when he was born.

Well, that's what I though, but dunno how to explain the people bloodied.

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I believe NYCCOOLGIRL's description is correct: "As far as I remember, he was saying he remembered being born. The scene in the hospital is a connection between life and death--- Witek being born amidst the victims massacred by the commie military and militia forces."

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That is correct. His father was involved in the strikes and wasn't there to take his wife to the hospital so she somehow made it alone and gave birth to Witek and his brother (who didn't survive, as Witek tells) on the floor, then died. Witek has the feeling he can remember this moment. The other people in the hospital are casualties of the riots.

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What is to fantastic about this scene is that it shown immediately after the scream on the airplane, which could be seen as the moment of his death. So flashing directly from that to his birth (and immediately death of his mother), then childhood, on up to the moment in which the film starts. In essence we get to see the whole "life flashing before your eyes" as you die thing as the opening sequence of the film—and we don't even realise that this is the case until the very end of the movie, the moment before the beginning of the movie is finally played.

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Exactly..... his life started to flash before his eyes from birth till the moment when he tries to catch the train. From now on, if we watched only the third part, we would have watched his entire life story that ended with the plane explosion. And then Kieslowski gives his hero two chances that will lead in two opposite directions but also end up in a personal disaster. KK was a declared pessimist and indeed it seems that his hero, regardless of his good intentions, ends up with disappointment in each consecutive life scenario. And when he chooses, what most ordinary people usually do, to stay neutral, uninvolved and mind his own business life throws him the ultimate wrench.

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OK, that clears up the scene in the opening but the hospital scene is repeated later on in the first story (Witek as party member). Why was it repeated then?

Expansion to your ego.

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He was telling the story for the first time to his gf. That's how we find out the meaning of the opening sequence. Also it's significant because he realized he was compromising his moral integrity and the values his recently deceased dad fought for in 1956.

Just a side note/recommendation to all interested.

Studio Tor has released another classic Polish movie with English subtitles based on a well-known pre-war autobiographical novel "Hotel Pacific" about a young country boy's career climb in a fancy Cracow restaurant. Great organic acting by Roman Wilhelmi as the brutal bully-senior waiter-Fornalski.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=McY4O1_ERok&index=3&list=PL2gv 9m758aYIO_93z_7IphRvYQbdzZGa2

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