Cult movies based on moral issues: Krzysztof Kieslowski

Born 75 years ago: Krzysztof Kieslowski

The 'Three Colors' trilogy

Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Kieslowski remains a strongly influential director - not just in Europe, but worldwide. Among his fans were fellow filmmakers Quentin Tarantino and Stanley Kubrick. Kieslowski died in 1996 at age 54 during heart surgery. His trilogy "Three Colors" (1993-1994) was his last work.

Born 75 years ago: Krzysztof Kieslowski

'Blind Chance'

Kieslowski initially worked on documentaries and television productions. In the mid-70s, he started directing feature films. His first works of fiction were influenced by the social realism of his documentaries. The film "Blind Chance" (1981) already featured some aspects which would become his trademark: philosophical films built on complex stories.

Born 75 years ago: Krzysztof Kieslowski

'No End'

"No End" (1985) deals with the period of martial law in Poland from 1981 to 1983. The film depicts the daily life of a woman whose recently deceased husband, a lawyer from the oppositional organization, Solidarity, appears as a ghost. The widow comes to the conclusion that her only way out is suicide. The bleak film questions how free we really are to determine our lives.

Born 75 years ago: Krzysztof Kieslowski

'A Short Film About Killing'

Kieslowski then spent three years working intensively on a 10-part TV drama series called, "The Decalogue," inspired by the 10 Commandments. Two episodes were expanded into feature films. One of them, "A Short Film About Killing," was especially controversial, as it compared an individual's senseless murder to the state's death penalty. "The Decalogue" made the director world famous.

Born 75 years ago: Krzysztof Kieslowski

'The Decalogue'

Set in a drab housing estate in Poland, a country strongly influenced by Catholicism, the series explores different ethical issues. Stanley Kubrick praised the films for delivering ideas through dramatic action instead of dialogue: It is done "with such dazzling skill, you never see the ideas coming and don't realize until much later how profoundly they have reached your heart," he wrote.

Born 75 years ago: Krzysztof Kieslowski

'The Double Life of Veronique'

The huge success of "The Decalogue" allowed Kieslowski to work on an international level. His next film was a French co-production with eminent stars: "The Double Life of Veronique" starred French actress Irene Jacob, who played both a Polish singer and her French doppelganger - in the two sides of Europe after the end of communism. Quentin Tarantino is a big fan of this film.

Born 75 years ago: Krzysztof Kieslowski

'Three Colors: Blue'

Kieslowski directed his "Three Colors" trilogy from 1991 to 1994. The three colors are those of the French national flag, and the films deal with the values of the French revolution. Part one, "Blue," starring Juliette Binoche, focuses on liberty. The film was highly successful.

Born 75 years ago: Krzysztof Kieslowski

'Three Colors: White'

The second part of the trilogy is dedicated to equality. A mismatched couple deals with issues such as love, sexuality, power and money. In "Three Colors: White," the director demonstrated his talent for comedy. With this film, he won the Silver Bear for Best Director at the Berlin International Film Festival in 1994.

Born 75 years ago: Krzysztof Kieslowski

Kieslowski's legacy

After his last work, "Three Colors: Red," Kieslowski was rumored to have retired from filmmaking. However, he was still working on various screenplays which he planned to direct. After Kieslowski died in 1996 during heart surgery, other filmmakers took over the direction of his scripts, including Tom Tykwer, who filmed "Heaven" in 2001, starring Cate Blanchett.

The influential Polish art-house filmmaker Krzysztof Kieslowski would have turned 75 on June 27. By exploring philosophical issues through complex narrative structures, he managed to gain a wide audience worldwide.

Born in Warsaw on June 27, 1941, Krzysztof Kieslowski started directing documentaries after studying at the renowned film school in Lodz. In these films, he attempted to realistically depict Polish society.

Independent social realism

His early motto - renouncing "the dramaturgy of reality" - already hinted that his main objective was not only to depict everyday life under the communist regime. His documentary exploration of episodes of political unrest in Poland at the end of the 1960s demonstrated more realism than most of the works of his state-loyal colleagues.

In 1976, he directed his first feature film, "The Scar," which featured many of the aspects that would characterize his later works.

Through seemingly simple stories, Kieslowski composed multi-layered cinematographic works filled with social references and philosophical reflections. His films became increasingly complex and demanding - and more and more enigmatic.

International recognition

He demonstrated that his philosophical approach could still obtain international commercial success with his 10-part series, "The Decalogue," and his "Three Colors" trilogy, the first of which, "Blue," starred Juliette Binoche (first picture in gallery above).

Krzysztof Kieslowski remains one of the world's most influential filmmakers.