The Complete

Hosted ByMatthew Gasteier and Travis Trudell

Covering the filmographies of the world’s most renowned directors, one season at a time.

The Complete Kieślowski 5 – Short Working Day

Matt and Travis welcome Matt Schlee from Cineccentric to discuss the fifth feature in Kieślowski’s filmography, Short Working Day.

In 1981, Kieślowski made two films that would be immediately shelved and go unreleased for years: the theatrical feature Blind Chance (which was also censored even its eventually released version) and the made-for-Television feature Short Working Day. The latter film would be shown sporadically in clubs or special screenings, but Kieślowski himself prevented its release even after the fall of Communism, and the film wasn’t shown on television as was originally intended until after his death in 1996.

The airdate was 20 years after the central event upon which Short Working Day was based took place, the 1976 workers’ revolt in Radom, Poland, following a government announcement that food prices would be nearly doubled across Poland. The politically charged subject matter makes the film’s shelving seem almost preordained, but Kieślowski himself ended up unhappy with the results, feeling that people would get an unintended message from his film if it were shown in wide release; he also found it be, similar to The Scar, poorly directed and acted and generally useless. We disagree, however, and try to make this case that far from being a blight on Kieślowski’s catalog, Short Working Day represents another key building block in his career.