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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Relationships > History > TV Mini-Series > Poland > Australia > Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Dekalog (aka Decalogue/1989) + Water Under The Bridge (1980/Umbrella TV Mini-Series/PAL Region Free/Zero/0/PAL DVD Import Sets)

Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Dekalog (aka Decalogue/1989) + Water Under The Bridge (1980/Umbrella TV Mini-Series/PAL Region Free/Zero/0/PAL DVD Import Sets)


Picture: C/C-     Sound: C+/C     Extras: C/C+     Episodes: C+



PLEASE NOTE: These DVD set can only be operated on machines capable of playing back DVDs that can handle Region Zero/0/Free PAL format software and can be ordered from our friends at Umbrella Entertainment at the website address provided at the end of the review.



The TV Mini-Series started to peter out in the 1980s, but interesting ones were produced here and there.  We now look at two series from two countries not usually know for them that had their own impacts in their time.  Water Under The Bridge (1980) is an Australian production that I am surprised did not have more worldwide exposure (was it really that Australian?) and Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Dekalog (1989) was so successful, that the Polish production found itself getting a theatrical release in movie theaters worldwide.


Dekalog is ten hour-long tales about the events that happen to people in the same Warsaw, Poland apartment building and each is also based on one of the Ten Commandments.  Though they have good acting, pacing, editing and wants to delve into the many layers of human relationships.  The result was raves and a rare time a Mini-Series (like Gettysburg and Das Boot) landed up in movie houses.  The problem I always had with the series was its predictability.  Two of the installments became expanded feature films and we covered them in their U.S. Kino DVD releases:


A Short Film About Killing



A Short Film About Love (covering adultery)




They do work better with more footage and those copies look and sound better than what we get here.  The 1.33 X 1 image from all ten shows have burned-in subtitles with print damage, color limits, detail issues and other softness that make watching these difficult.  It is ambitious and Stanley Kubrick reportedly liked it very much, so here is the whole series in the space of one DVD case containing four DVDs for you to see. 



Water Under The Bridge may not be the best Mini-Series ever made, but it is an ambitious attempt to show Sydney’s ups and down between the first and second World War.  Based on a book by Sumner Locke Elliott (Careful, He Might Hear You), this runs 534 minutes (!) and eight episodes as we begin in Melbourne in 1918 and work our way to the 1930s.  An actor (David Cameron) falls for the daughter (Judy Davis) of a rich family, but his guardian (Robyn Nevin) hates the whole family and this will wreck havoc in all their lives as the world teeters.  Co-writers Michael Jenkins (who adapted Careful, He Might Hear You for film) and Eleanor Witcombe (Number 96, reviewed elsewhere on this site) have written a sprawling and intelligent teleplay, but it is too melodramatic, overlong and even boring for its own good, though this does have some good moments.


The 1.33 X 1 image here was also filmed, but this does not look good and comes from a bad old analog video master that is very hard to watch.  That’s a shame because this looks like the money was put into it.  Hope a film print is found one of these days.


The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono in both cases is also problematic, with the Polish Mono on Dekalog being good at best, but with it own distortion issues and sonic limits.  Water has even more issues with dialogue not always being audible and includes more evident compression throughout its episodes.


Extras in both cases include piece on the authors.  There is a 35-minutes-long interview with Elliott on Water, while Dekalog has a 55-minutes-long featurette I’m So-So that has been awkwardly updated when it should have been left alone.  A scarce Press Reel with co-star Nevin, PDF DVD-ROM accessible Press Clippings piece and Stills Gallery round out Water.



As noted above, you can order these PAL DVD imports exclusively from Umbrella at:





-   Nicholas Sheffo


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