Thursday 14 May 2015

Weekend Stories [1996-1997]

In his magnum opus Weekend Stories, reminiscent of Kieslowski’s Decalogue, Zanussi provided a masterful exploration of moral dilemmas and spiritual crises in everyday existence, through 8 thematically connected made-for-TV episodes. Set in post-Communist Poland, memories and remnants from recent past, and socio-economic volte face towards materialism, formed a key aspect, thus making this perceptive, evocative and reflective work a political and a personal exercise, with strong undercurrents of Catholicism. In A Woman’s Business, an emotionally fractured lady (Joanna Szczepkowska) attempts to find closure for the wrongs done 15 years back by a callous government official (Magdalena Zawadzka); Little Faith chronicled the crisis of faith experienced by a rationalist man (Maciej Orlos) and his highly religious wife (Dorota Segda) as they await the medical test results of their son; Soul Sings narrated the conflict faced by a struggling opera singer (Jacek Laszczkowski) when asked for help by his elderly neighbour that might put his professional breakthrough at risk; in Deceptive Charm, a university teacher (Maciej Robakiewicz), propelled by his dissatisfied wife (Katarzyna Herman), faces the lure of quick financial gains when offered employment by a wealthy degenerate (Zbigniew Zapasiewicz); Unwritten Law illustrated the moral pangs experienced by a married young chauffeur (Piotr Szwedes) after he succumbs to the seduction by his attractive employer (Krystyna Janda), upon witnessing her ruthless opportunism; in The Last Circle, a renowned but ageing ballet dancer (Daniel Olbrychski) faces the tussle between cold professionalism and conscience when reluctantly united after many years with his beautiful ex-wife (Olga Sawicka); Dilatory Line portrayed how suspicions of his fiancée’s (Monika Kwiatkowska) affair with his colleague takes precedence over the professional judgements of a TV producer (Bartosz Opania); and The Hidden Treasure presented an aged former aristocrat’s (Maja Komorowska) homecoming to reclaim certain family belongings. Diverse psyches and emotions – vengeance, greed, lust, obsession, jealousy, forgiveness, narcissism, humility, ethics, abandonment and compassion – were exquisitely used in painting layered portraits of contemporary Polish life, with the irreparable scars of history serving as a brooding backdrop, in this compelling, luminously photographed mosaic.

Director: Krzysztof Zanussi
Genre: Drama/Urban Drama/Psychological Drama/TV Miniseries
Language: Polish
Country: Poland

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