Blind Chance (Przypadek) Reviews
Indeed there is something youthful and rebellious about Kieslowski himself here as well as Boguslaw Linda's Witek. The wonderfully edited opening montage of key details from Witek's life seem completely unimportant to the narrative, but an everyday occurrence of almost missing the train is followed with intense detail, the camera panning the ripple effect of a coin dropping from a pocket across the floor to a beggar. Every sly movement here will feel like an amateurish step towards the same strokes which are done more masterfully in The Decalogue or Kieslowski's magnum opus, the Three Colours trilogy, but if you are unfamiliar with those works this will feel nuanced. Certainly whilst this is not Kieslowski's debut feature, it certainly feels not completely accomplished: filmed in 1981 but censored by the government for 6 years from release, the film was made before Kieslowski experimented with parallel lives in The Decalogue or worked with his writing partner Krzystof Piesiewicz, Kieslowski seems to be experimenting with his narrative here far more than in any of his other works.
However, Kieslowski is certainly not experimenting with his portrayal of the various organisations and political affiliations, putting his work on a decade-long documentary career to best use. Effectively the consequences at the train station leave Witek in three parallel lives: joining the Communist party, assisting the resistance, or remaining a neutral public service doctor. Through visuals alone, Kieslowski could entice every member of the audience into any of those decisions and make them seem ethically right. The grateful old man that persuades Witek of the great opportunities which lie in the bright offices of the Politburo, the warm welcome of old friends charitably assisting the anti-Communist resistance, and the rosy cheeked medical colleague Olga, played with warmth by Monika Gozdzik, providing a neutral alternative to the choices, all of which seem the ideal direction for Witek's life to take at first glance. Of course the outcomes of those decisions are bleak in a typically Kieslowski fashion, and in keeping with his political ideologies makes death the fate for Witek's neutrality.
As a record of its time and setting, Blind Chance hardly panders to a universal audience, yet nor does the script turn into a history lesson. Kieslowski's goal is not to educate his audience about the maxims or backstories of the Party or resistance, but to show the humanity behind each of the portraits. This is a slight detriment to audiences viewing the film from thirty years or so later, that you have to give your European history of Communism a little refresher. However there is not much more needed about the culture of a different era than say understanding that it was more acceptable to display a love story involving heroic portrayals of white supremacists when D. W. Griffith made Birth of a Nation. An awareness of the Politburo's rule is fairly essential for enjoyment of the film, and if you don't believe that you can see some of the reviews on IMDb where some user critics clearly could not imagine a different culture than 'Murican.
But a fair criticism of the film is the sensation of its runtime, rather than the runtime itself. At just under two hours, Blind Chance is not a substantially long time by any means: however, narratively speaking, the film is one man's life three times over, and boy does it feel that long! This can be forgiven as a step in Kieslowski's evolution as a filmmaker, who would later split the simultaneously-set stories of The Decalogue into ten one-hour films as a television series, but it is distinctly noticeable. There are moments in the restored cut, produced in time for Martin Scorsese's Masterpieces of Polish Cinema season, which have been returned into the film to show as much footage as possible, and yet narratively speaking a good chunk could still be taken out, particularly of the languid scene at Communist authority Werner's house.
Lifetimes aside, Blind Chance is an important work, blending the parallel lives narrative of O. Henry's short story Roads of Destiny and applying it to contemporary Poland, with a political movement which lies at the heart of a young man's fate. If you have been dazzled by Kieslowski's later French works such as the Three Colours trilogy or The Double Life of Veronique, this will show the same more juvenile fingerprints. Worth a place in the history of cinema and on your DVD shelf.
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.
The later rip-off Sliding Doors is way inferior, but Run Lola Run, on the other hand, has energy, wit, style, great pace, a charismatic leading actor and is a way superior film quite simply because it is entertaining. I realise Blind Chance doesn't set out to achieve the same, but unfortunately as a work of art it's not all that great either. While there are a few flashes of cinematic beauty it's mostly rather a grim documentary in its look and feel.
It's not the easiest film to get into, but if you watch the first fifteen minutes again directly after your first view it will make more sense and raise the entire impression of the film. At least it did for me. It demands some time the first view as well, being quite complex, but pieces is put togheter in a great way. And the ending - perfect.
so under the three scenarios all of them are actually failure
so it's to tell u, communism doesn't work huh?
when u get a belief, fate would choose for u whether u have chance to insist on your belief and act for it
yes but fate tells u u dun really have the power to control the situation
or fate tells u, what u belief is actually too ideal
no way out, so to abandon 'BELIEF"?
no matter belief in communism? belief in god? belief in yourself?
just wonder why all the three scenarios they are all heading to Paris but failed
is that.. under certain social environment, we just don't have choice and fate would lead us
coz we are inside an unchangeable crappy system
"IF" we could leave the place, it would be another story?
or still the same?
what if the boy can head to Paris in the movie? will he still find it disappointed and still lots of struggle?