Palace of Culture and Science
Located in the very heart of Warsaw, the Palace of Culture and Science is the tallest building in Poland. This “gift from the Soviet nation to the Polish nation” was built in 1952–55 based on a design by the Soviet architect Lev Rudnev, who took inspiration from the skyscrapers of Moscow. The Palace of Culture is home to four theaters (including Lalka Theater), three museums, and a cinema.
Ewa (Anna Polony) is seen running around the columns in front of the Palace of Culture, looking for little Ania. She is raising the girl as her own child, even though Ania belongs to her actual daughter, Maja (Maja Berełkowska), from whom she has just taken the child. Using a clever trick, Ewa kidnapped the girl at a puppet show. The seventh episode of The Decalogue, the theme of which is “You shall not steal,” invokes the commandment’s original meaning as a condemnation of kidnapping rather that theft. The former crime was regarded in antiquity as a violation of human freedom and was punished almost as severely as murder. The ancient interpretation of the law is implied by the columns in the façade of this monumental Warsaw building. The plot of this episode was inspired by a real criminal case in which Krzysztof Piesiewicz, the co-author of the screenplay, was involved during his time as a lawyer. The original story was heavily adapted for the film, but the central problem of the case remained intact. These events took place in a time when the Palace of Culture and Science, a gargantuan socialist-realist structure, was the dominant architectural feature of the city.