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Understanding LovePhilosophy, Film, and Fiction$
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Susan Wolf and Christopher Grau

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780195384512

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195384512.001.0001

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Lessons in Looking

Lessons in Looking

Krzysztof Kieslowski’s A Short Film About Love

(p.271) 13 Lessons in Looking
Understanding Love

C. D. C. Reeve

Oxford University Press

Krzystof Kieslowski’s A Short Film deals with the sixth commandment, yet the film seems to be about voyeurism not adultery. The connection is made in Matthew 5.27-8, where Christ broadens the notion of adultery to include looking at a woman with lust. In the course of A Short Film, Tomek’s adolescent, lustful, and masturbatory looking at Magda is transmuted into interpersonal love, so that the look of love—how love looks to people and at them—becomes the film’s subject. The power of love to transform is real, but so too are the personal and social obstacles to transformation. People are caught in circles of repetition and convention, yet by understanding the role that choice, necessity, and luck play in them, they can sometimes make them serve life.

Keywords:   Adolescence, Adultery, Christ, Kieslowski, Magda, Masturbation, Tomek, Voyeurism

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