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The Tomatometer is 60% or higher.
The Tomatometer is 59% or lower.
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A towering figure of Eastern European cinema, Krzysztof Kieslowski was born in Warsaw, Poland, on June 27, 1941. His formative years, spent under the specters of Hitler and Stalin, were nomadic; his father suffered from tuberculosis, and the family traveled from one sanatorium to another. At the age of 16, Kieslowski entered Fireman's Training College. His stay was short-lived, instilling in him a lifelong loathing of uniforms and disciplines. To avoid military service, he returned to school, later attending the Warsaw College for Theatre Technicians. In 1965, after several previous rejections, he was finally accepted into the famed Lodz Film School -- the same institution which launched the careers of Roman Polanski, Andrzej Wadja, Jerzy Skolimowski, and Krzysztof Zanussi -- and made his first short feature, Tramwaj (The Tram), the following year. The communist-controlled Poland of the 1960s and '70s was a nation of great political unrest. Consequently, film emerged as a crucial means of communication as well as a kind of social conscience, implicitly depicting a way of life denied by Party dominance. At the time, documentaries were considered as artistically important and commercially viable as features. With 1966's Urzad (The Office), Kieslowski first turned to the documentary format, satirizing bureaucratic policy via a state-owned insurance office. He helmed 1968's Zdjecie (The Photograph), a 32-minute documentary for Polish television. Upon graduating in 1969, Kieslowski's focus turned exclusively to documentary filmmaking beginning with Z Miasta Lodzi (From the City of Lodz). His early professional work consisted of a series of one-act films designed to be shown in theaters as supporting material along with features. Among Kieslowski's documentaries of the early '70s were Bylem Zolnierzem (I Was a Soldier), Fabryka (Factory), Przed Rajdem (Before the Rally)' and Refren (Refrain). In 1972 he released a pair of films commissioned by the Lubin Copper Mine, Miedzy Wroclawiem a Zielona Gora (Between Wroclaw and Zielona Gora) and Podstawy BHP w Koplani Miedzi (The Principles of Safety and Hygiene in a Copper Mine). Robotnicy '71: Nic o Nas Bez Nas (Workers '71: Nothing About Us Without Us), an account of the December 1970 strike which helped lead to the downfall of First Secretary of the Communist Polish United Workers' Party Wladyslaw Gomulka soon followed. After the 1973 documentary Murarz (Bricklayer), Kieslowski made his first television drama, Przejscie Podziemne (Pedestrian Subway). Upon completing a pair of 1974 documentaries, Przeswietlenie (X-Ray) and Pierwsza Milosc (First Love), he helmed 1975's Zyciorys (Curriculum vitae), a "dramatic documentary" depicting the cross-examination of a Communist Party member threatened with expulsion. While his story was fictional, the Party Control Committee deciding his fate was real. The project was the subject of considerable controversy and criticism, and many Poles charged that Kieslowski had flirted with the Party in making the film. Throughout the remainder of his career, public consensus on the director remained split in his native land -- many greatly admired his work, while others considered him an opportunist, as well as a traitor to himself and his country. Despite his high level of visibility at home, Kieslowski remained unknown throughout the rest of the world. He did not make his first feature-length TV drama until 1975, debuting with Personel. After a pair of 1976 documentaries, Szpital (Hospital) and Klaps (Slate), he made his theatrical feature bow that same year with Blizna (The Scar). The TV drama Spokoj (The Calm) followed in quick succession, with three more documentaries -- Z Punktu Widzenia Nocnego Portiera (From a Night Porter's Point of View), Nie Wiem (I Don't Know), and Siedem Kobiet w Roznym Wieku (Seven Women of Different Ages) -- appearing over the next two years. Finally, the 1979 feature Amator (Camera Buff) launched Kieslowski to the forefront o