One of the goals of this blog is for people to find possible examples of the theories that we’re reading, share those examples, and then ask others whether they also agree that they are examples.

So I was reading an interview with one of my personal heroes Krzysztof Kieślowski a Polish film director, who directed Bleu, which we saw some of in class. We talked about Bleu creating a cinematic language of grief, and Kieślowski is famous for his ability to reveal the interior lives of his characters in deep and profound ways. And in the course of the interview was this exchange:

Interviewer: You would surely agree that you have tried to explore what might be called the spiritual, immaterial world–even if you’ve had to do it by focusing on the physical world?

Kieślowski: But film is very materialistic: all you can photograph, most of the time, is things. You can describe a soul, but you can’t photograph it; you have to find an equivalent. But there isn’t really an equivalent. Film is helpless when it comes to describing the soul, just as it is describing many other things, like a state of consciousness. You have to find methods, tricks, which may be more or less successful in making it understood that this is what your film is about. And some people may like those tricks, others may not.

I’m frustrated by the literalism of film; I’d like to escape that. To a certain degree, maybe I have managed to do so in the last few films, but only to a certain degree. And now I can’t find any more possibilities; the camera is of no help. So that’s one reason I’d like to give up filmmaking.

This interview occurred shortly after the release of Kieślowski’s celebrated Three Colours trilogy, and Kieślowski shocked people by announcing his immediate retirement upon its release. It would seem to me that for him, the expression theory helps explain his challenges as a film director.

So, I have two questions for you (you can answer either, both, or neither!):

  • Of all the expression theories we read in Barnard, which is closest to Kieślowski’s?
  • How do the issues raised in this quote relate to HCI?

Finally, please note that I am trying to lead by example. Please post blogs like this one! Notice I don’t really say anything especially smart–I just found an example of something we read and I posted it without even offering my own answer or analysis!