Blind Chance (1981)
d. Krzysztof Kieślowski
Criterion Collection #772
Released September 5th, 2015
Chances are that if you've heard of Kielowski it's via his career capping Colors trilogy, Red, Blue and White. Those three films, released in 1993 and 1994 are synonymous with European Art House cinema of the 90s. Blind Chance was his first feature film, produced and released in a firmly Communist Poland, and long censored and unseen in its original, non-censored form. Kudos to the Criterion Collection for bringing this film to the American DVD market, and even more kudos for putting it on the Criterion Collection Hulu Plus channel.
The take away from Blind Chance is that Kieslowski was already in firm grasp of the narrative and aesthetic principles that would manifest itself in the Colors trilogy in Blind Chance. In Blind Chance, Witek is a young medical student who "loses his callng" after the death of his father. At a pivotal point in his life, he runs to catch a train to Warsaw, and there Kiewslowski splits the story into three different "endings" (though these three endings constitute the bulk of the run time of the movie) where fate takes him in different directions based on whether he is able to catch the train or not.
The three fates resemble one another and recombine around a trip that each Witek wants to make to Paris. In Communist Poland, travel to the West was restricted. Kieslowski keeps the pace up. Like other Polish directors he combines Hollywood level technical expertise with some of the concerns of the French New Wave and by the end ti is clear that the triumph of the Colors trilogy was presaged at the earliest stages of his career.