Decalogue III

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

This episode had to be an influence on EYES WIDE SHUT. Look at how many Christmas trees there are!

I'm in awe of the achievement of the last four or five lines of dialogue in this episode, which, in just a few carefully chosen words, reframe everything that's come before. We learn that Janusz had no reason to lie to his wife about having spent Christmas Eve with his former mistress, Eva; his wife knew what was up the entire time. Based on the resignation in both spouses' voices, one can assume this isn't the first time Eva has pulled Janusz away from his family since the affair ended. It's almost sad enough to be funny, this exhausting cycle of manipulation.

Why does Janusz allow himself to be drawn into Eva's credibility-straining plot to find her missing husband? That's the question that makes me return to this episode of the Decalogue more than any other. Does he still desire his old mistress? Is she a burden he needs to bear forever? Does he feel responsible for ending her marriage? Eva may be the more expressive character, but Janusz is ultimately the more mysterious.