Contrasts With Woody Allen's `Crimes...'

`WITHOUT the Law, there is chaos,'' says the Rabbi in Woody Allen's new film, ``Crimes and Misdemeanors,'' which covers much of the same terrain as ``Decalogue'' and which also received its American premi`ere at the Denver International Film Festival. But though Allen raises many of the same issues, his resolutions are vastly different. ``Crimes'' presents a world devoid of moral order, a world in which the righteous suffer and the guilty prosper, though they break every Commandment.

Kieslowski, however, has not given up on justice, but continues to struggle for it, searching the deep places of the human heart.

By its very nature that struggle is profound, and ``Decalogue'' plumbs depths closed off in ``Crimes and Misdemeanors.'' Where Allen's film describes his beliefs about an empty universe, Kieslowski's cycle inquires, examines, and explores.

``Decalogue'' seems truer to life, presupposing an innate sense of goodness in humankind.

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