Kieslowski claimed when discussing the film that he wanted to turn from presenting the external, to the internal, but the political landscape of the period is inescapable. All three stories highlight different, but no less problematic elements of the ruling regime - from cyclical hypocrisy to more widespread corruption and oppression. But the fairly bleak conclusions of each act pull into sharp relief the underlying fact that nothing has really changed. In the opening moments of each branch, Witek meets a person who sets him on his course. A member of the Communist party and enigmatic mentor; a man intent on resistance he meets during his community service; his prior girlfriend. From there he adopts trenchant belief systems - in Communism, in opposition, in religion, in family. That all three versions are coloured strongly by love, though its mutability is evident in the trio of different women that he falls for.
The montage that opens the film proves the only section to show a particular stylish flourish; the events of his life up to the moment on the platform - including the flight of a Jewish childhood friend, or his birth amid violent unrest - are shown to be of little consequence. A closing sequence in an airport sees characters from previous timelines precisely where they were before, arguably suggesting the irrelevance of Witek's absence from their lives. Perhaps this was Kieslowski's point about internalisation. Blind Chance may take in the strident and charged political atmosphere, but Witek makes little impression on it where he picks a side or not. As for him, the final shot suggests that fate isn't prepared to him a happy ending no matter how many cracks he has at one.
The 13th Kinoteka runs from 8 April - 29 May. The full 2015 programme, ticketing details and more can be viewed at kinoteka.org.uk. You can follow our coverage here.
Ben Nicholson | @BRNicholson