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YMMV / The Decalogue

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  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Did the doctor know Andrzek was recovering, or was it a miracle?
  • Jerkass Woobie: Tomek and Magda in Decalogue Six are horrible to each other in different ways, but it's hard not to feel sorry for them. Tomek stalks Magda by giving her fake notices for money orders so that she can visit him at the post office, then takes a second job delivering milk and hides her empty bottles for an excuse to knock on her door, all while spying on her through a telescope. However, when Magda turns the tables on him by first provoking her boyfriend into beating Tomek up for spying on them, then agreeing to a date and humiliating him when he prematurely ejaculates before they are even undressed, he runs away in shame and slits his wrists with a razor blade. Magda spends most of the rest of the episode wracked with guilt and frantically trying to track him down to apologise. When she finally does catch up with him, he says only that he has stopped watching her.
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  • Moe: Ania.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Both the murder and the final execution scene in Decalogue Five.
  • Tear Jerker:
    • Krzysztof watching as his son is being pulled out from the frozen lake where he drowned in Decalogue One.
    • In the final scene of Decalogue Seven, Majka hears her daughter, Ania, instinctively address her grandmother, Ewa, as "Mommy" when she finds them hiding in the train station. Distraught at the realisation that her daughter will never acknowledge her as her mother, she hurriedly boards the first train of the day, implicitly leaving Ania's life forever.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: A less obvious example than most, but Decalogue Five (and its expanded version, A Short Film About Killing) were filmed in 1988, when capital punishment was legal in Poland. A mere year later, the Polish government placed a moratorium on executions, and in 1997 the death penalty was prohibited altogether.
    • As a whole, the entire series became a condensed snapshot of the tail end of the 80s in Poland - not just on the level of fashion or general aesthetics, but also character actions and society as a whole still operating under the norms and mores of the just-topped communist period.
  • The Woobie:
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    • Ewa in Decalogue Three was deeply hurt by the end of her affair with Janusz after someone made an anonymous phone call to her husband Edward. As if that wasn't bad enough, Edward later divorced her, moved to Krakow, re-married, and had two children. Ewa has been alone ever since, and after she spends the night between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day leading Janusz on a wild goose chase for the supposedly missing Edward, she reveals that if Janusz had stopped searching with her before 7am, she was going to commit suicide by overdose. Even though she goes on living, she has no-one to go back to, while Janusz' home life survived his infidelity.
    • Roman in Decalogue Nine is devastated when he is diagnosed as sexually impotent, not helped by his colleague bluntly suggesting he divorce his wife, Hanka. He suggests that Hanka seek sexual gratification elsewhere, unaware that she is already having an affair with physics undergraduate Mariusz. He eventually becomes suspicious and bugs their phone himself to get evidence, finally resorting to spying on them during one of their trysts. Even after Hanka decides to end her affair with Mariusz and finds Roman hiding in the closet immediately afterward, leading them to agree to spend some time apart, Mariusz isn't prepared to give up so easily, and when Roman sees him obviously planning to follow Hanka on a ski holiday to Zakopane, he attempts suicide.
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