A short film about killing by Krzysztof Kieslowski (1988) is a chilling film about cold, brutal murder. Two deaths are found in this film. One, of a crude middle-aged taxi driver, and the other, of the young murderer himself. Kieslowski’s goal in this film, is to question the difference between the senseless murder of an individual, and a cold, calculated execution by the state. Not only, does the story focus on the murders and the helplessness of the young, idealistic lawyer, it also follows the young murderer as he is caught and senetenced to death by hanging. A hand held camera was used to film the entire film, creating a sense of raw realism to the film. The themes surrounding the film are law and politics (since the law ultimately decides the fate of the young murderer and it was evident at the start of the show) as well as death.

“It’s wrong no matter why you kill, no matter whom you kill and no matter who does the killing… Inflicting death is probably the highest form of violence imaginable; capital punishment is an infliction of death”. -Krzysztof Kieslowski

The film sparked a heated debate in Poland about capital punishment. The audience didn’t like what Kieslowski tried to achieve with this film. Despite that, the majority of critics praised A short film about killing and it won many awards.


The film inspired me to created a poster. The design is simple and straightforward as is the film itself. The main colour used in the poster is black which signifies a dark gloominess in the film. A shadow, telling the murderous actions of the young convict, is shown behind the murderer as he walks towards the noose which is his punishment. I did not want to use Jacek’s (The murderer) face in the poster as I wanted him to look pure by having his silhouette white. Moments before his execution, Jacek confides in his lawyer, about his sister who was killed under a tractor driven by a drunk man. He is deeply agonized when he reveals that the man was his friend and that he was drinking with that man before it happened. This part of the film brought to light another side of Jacek, instead of the man who killed his victim senselessly. I also included the faces of his lawyer and victim in the poster as they were a significant part of Jacek’s life, moments before his execution. His lawyer, who sincerely  tried to help Jacek and even cried for him at the end, and the victim, who was the spark to Jacek’s  eventual demise.

About the Author: Karen is a student who requires more direction as well as sleep.


1. Berardinelli, J. 1987. Reelviews Movie Reviews. [online] Available at: http://www.reelviews.net/php_review_template.php?identifier=822 [Accessed: 23 Jun 2013].

2. En.wikipedia.org. 1988. A Short Film About Killing – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. [online] Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Short_Film_About_Killing [Accessed: 23 Jun 2013].

3. IMDb. 1941. Krzysztof Kieslowski – Biography. [online] Available at: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001425/bio [Accessed: 23 Jun 2013].


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