Made in 1981 but suppressed for several years, this early Krzysztof Kieslowski film is more interesting for its structure than for its specific plot details (which lack resonance for viewers like me who aren't so familiar with Polish politics).
The central character is Witek, a young medical student feeling adrift after his father's recent death. Three alternate stories follow, hinging upon whether he successfully catches a train to Warsaw. This unusual gimmick obviously influenced the '90s films "Run Lola Run" and "Sliding Doors," which is why every darn "Blind Chance" review brings up this similarity.
In the first sequence, Witek barely catches the train and meets an older man who steers him toward working for the national Communist party. In the second, he misses the train, is arrested after fighting with a security guard and ends up joining the anti-Communist underground. In the third, he misses the train, avoids the fight and instead becomes a non-partisan doctor. These situations lead to climaxes of varying drama.
Each of the stories also comes with a different romantic interest. A childhood sweetheart, a friend's sister and a fellow doctor all draw Witek's affections. The film may require backtracking to recall how some other characters figured in the preceding realities.
The idea of one's life path being switched in a random moment is fascinating, but "Blind Chance" has two chief problems. First, Witek has a rather vague, flavorless personality. Second, the film's pacing seems uneven because the three stories are not given equal emphasis (the segments run roughly 50, 35 and 20 minutes). A more minor glitch: A crucial special effect is horribly executed, no doubt due to budget limitations.
"Blind Chance" is not on the level of more famous Kieslowski works such as "The Double Life of Veronique" and "Red," but its polished cinematography and studied introspection are typically compelling. And hey, there's an exciting "Easter egg" of sorts if you happen to be a juggling fan.