Dekalog: Three

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Dekalog: Three
Decalogue trzy.png
Directed byKrzysztof Kieślowski
Produced byRyszard Chutkovski
Written byKrzysztof Kieślowski
Krzysztof Piesiewicz
StarringDaniel Olbrychski
Maria Pakulnis
Joanna Szczepowska
Music byZbigniew Preisner
CinematographyPiotr Sobociński
Edited byEwa Smal
Distributed byPolish Television
Release date
  • 1988 (1988)
Running time
56 minutes

Dekalog: Three (Polish: Dekalog, trzy) is the third part of the television series Dekalog by Polish director Krzysztof Kieślowski, possibly connected to the third and seventh imperatives of the Ten Commandments: "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy" and "Thou shalt not commit adultery". [1][2]


It is Christmas Eve. Janusz (Daniel Olbrychski), a taxicab driver, plays Święty Mikołaj (roughly equivalent to Santa Claus) for his children and then comes home as himself (crossing paths briefly with Krzysztof from Dekalog: One) to his wife and children, in order to spend the evening with them. They attend mass in the city. There he spots Ewa (Maria Pakulnis), with whom he had an affair three years earlier. Ewa just happened upon the church after visiting her senile aunt in the retirement home (the confused aunt asks Ewa whether she's done her homework, but also enquires after her husband).

Ewa later comes to Janusz's place looking for her ex-lover, asking him to help her find her husband, who she says has disappeared. Janusz leaves his house saying that his taxi has been stolen, although his wife (Joanna Szczepowska) suspects something and suggests he leave it alone. Janusz answers that the taxi is their sole source of income and leaves. Janusz and Ewa spend the whole night driving around the city, discussing past and present. Janusz is eager to go home and be with his family on Christmas evening, but Ewa is desperate and manages to keep him with her by setting up clues along the way to track her husband down. They inquire in hospitals and at the train station. Eventually Janusz sees through her game but does not say anything.

When the clock strikes seven the next morning, Ewa reveals that she has been lying to Janusz. She is no longer with her husband; they divorced right after her tryst with Janusz, and he has been living with his new family in Kraków for the past three years. She is now forced to face the holidays all alone while watching other families share the love and peace that she does not have. Ewa reveals that she had set up a scheme in her mind - if she succeeded in her "game" keeping Janusz away from his family till 7am, all would be well again. If not, she would commit suicide. They part at dawn, with Janusz returning to his family and Ewa to her loneliness. When Janusz gets home, his suspecting wife asks him whether he has restarted his affair with Ewa. He promises never to see her again.[3][4]


The film explores characters facing one or several moral or ethical dilemmas as they live in a large housing project in 1980´s Poland.[5] The themes can be interpreted in many different ways; however, each film has its own literality:[6]

Commandment (Roman Catholic Enumeration) Ideal Kieślowskian Theme
Thou shalt not kill. The sanctity of life Murder and punishment


Zygmunt Fok, Jacek Kalucki, Barbara Kolodziejska, Maria Krawczyk, Jerzy Zygmunt Nowak, Piotr Rzymszkiewicz, Wlodzimierz Rzeczycki, Wlodzimierz Musial


  1. ^ Wilmington, Michael (January 5, 2007). "Kieslowski series a post-holiday treat". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
  2. ^ Berardinelli, James. "Decalogue". Retrieved 18 April 2013.
  3. ^ Synopsis on
  4. ^ Episode overview
  5. ^ Robert Ebert The Decalogue movie and film review,, 2 April 2000, retrieved 6 June 2017
  6. ^ Kickasola, Joseph G. (2006). The Films of Krzysztof Kieślowski:The Liminal Image. Continuum (Bloomsbury Publishing). p. 164. ISBN 978-0-826-41559-2. Retrieved 30 March 2014.