When I returned to New York City after nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and the Balkans, I was unsure of where I was headed. I lacked the emotional and physical resiliency that had allowed me to cope as a war correspondent. I was plagued by memories I wanted to forget, waking suddenly in the middle of the night, my sleep shattered by visions of gunfire and death. I was alienated from those around me, unaccustomed to the common language and images imposed by consumer culture, unable to communicate the pain and suffering I had witnessed, not much interested in building a career.
It was at this time that the Brooklyn Academy of Music began showing a 10-part film series called “The Decalogue.” Deka, in Greek, means 10. Logos means saying or speech. The Decalogue is the classical name of the Ten Commandments. The director was the Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Kieslowski, who had made the trilogy “White, Blue and Red.” The 10 films, each about an hour long and based on one of the commandments, were to be shown two at a time over five consecutive weeks. I saw them on Sunday nights, taking the subway to Brooklyn, its cars rocking and screeching along the tracks in the darkened tunnels. The theater was rarely more than half full.
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