The Castle Square in central Warsaw was laid out in 1818–21. Its east edge is formed by the walls of the Royal Castle, which marks the northern terminus of the Royal Route. The structures encircling the square were destroyed in 1939 and 1944, and rebuilt in 1949–58.
The episode’s central character, Jacek Łazar (Mirosław Baka) observes a street portraitist at work at the Old Town Square. The girl posing for the artist, we later learn, is the same age as Jacek’s sister, who died in a tragic accident a few years earlier. This tragic event seems significant in light of the character’s despicable deed: after strolling around Warsaw’s Old Town, Jacek attacks and brutally murders a taxi driver. The recurring presence of children in the background of the plot of Decalogue Five is the sole highlight in the episode’s dark world. The bleakness of the story is underscored by the use of high-contrast photographs with a yellow and green color cast, while the shots of the prison scenes appear entirely gray and monochrome, seemingly devoid of vivid color. The film’s color palette echoes the style of 1980s forensic photographs, which were shot on East German ORWO negatives with a characteristically muted and gray tonal range. This remarkable visual effect was created by Sławomir Idziak, the director of photography on Decalogue Five and its feature-length version, A Short Film About Killing. Idziak achieved this result by using special lens-mounted color filters of his own design and construction.