Opowiesci weekendowe (TV movie series 1996 - 2000)

Wojciech Kilar

 
" While the use of Kilar's Hipoteza is brilliant, further use of his music does not compare to the well chosen pre-existing music in following Zanussi films. "

Written by Joep de Bruijn - Review of the music as heard in the movie

In the 1970s and 1980s Polish film makers Krzystof Kieślowski and his mentor Krzysztof Zanussi made vital contributions to an aesthetic movement called the cinema of moralnego niepokoju (Moral Anxiety). It is interesting to note that Zanussi role as a mentor to Kieślowski , did not only result in one original score by Kilar for Kieślowski (Przypadek), but also the extensively edited theme from Bilans Kwartly in the Kieślowski documentary Z punktu widzenia nocnego portiera(1979). In 1989 - 1990 Kieślowski made the TV miniseries Dekalog, inspired by the decalogue of the Ten Commandments. Zanussi followed with Opowieści weekendowe (Weekend Stories), a series of TV movies broadcasted shown between 1996 and 2000. I do believe Zanussi never mentioned any correlation between them, but they do have a lot in common. While Kieślowski portrays a pessimistic Communism era, Zanussi is fairly optimistic in his portrayal of post-communism Poland. Both focus on moral conflict and provide an insight in the state of Poland, but their approach is very different. I am a vivid admirer of the aesthetics in Kieślowski' work, but as I got more acquainted with the rather unemotional and less visually appealing cinema of Zanussi, I began to appreciate his film making more fully.

The Dekalog series received tremendous music by Zbigniew Preisner, for Opowieści weekendowe Zanussi disappointingly uses already existing selections of Wojciech Kilar scores. The reason most likely lies within the limited budgets in the making of the series. It is clear that music the composer wrote to Zanussi films evolved, and one began to see musical resemblances within their collaborations, also carried over when working with other film makers. Once the Opowieści weekendowe series was completed, Zanussi continued to rely on the (wonderful) re-use of Kilar music for many of his following films;

Życie jako śmiertelna choroba przenoszona drogą płciową ... (Life As a Fatal Sexually Transmitted Disease, 2000)
-Piano Concerto
-several cues from König der letzten Tage

Personan Non Grata (2005)
-Choralvorspiel
-Piano Concerto No. 1

-Rewizyta (The Review, 2009)
-the main theme from Constants

Obce Ciało (Foreign Body, 2014)
This was Kilar's Swan Song, recorded after his death. Still, the director recycled Kilar's music from his films Gdzieśkolwiek jest, jeśliś jest..., Kontrakt, Spirala, and Przypadek (the only original score Kilar provided for Kieślowsk).


Each Opowieści weekendowe episode uses the memorable theme from Kilar' Hipoteza for the opening credits, which gives them a good sense of continuity. The composition is performed by staccato strings against the softly rolling harp and celesta, a conflicted piece of music. This makes its use relevant, since the characters in the series face moral dilemmas; a stroke of genius on behalf of Zanussi.

On top of that, there's the elegance of the themes from Bilans Kwartly, Valse des Fantôme (from Fantôme avec chauffeur) and Życie Rodzinne heard in the series. All of them are terrific pieces of music, but they lack a strong functionality. It is feasible they are meant to illustrate the positive outcome of the stories, but it more so feels like they are aimless projectiles. The series makes use of other music playing an equal, unimportant role, to which I preferred silence. The exception is found in the use of opera music in the episode Dusza śpiewa, which is indubitably functional for a story that deals with the concerns of a classical singer.

Reviewing a project primarily recycling older music from a composer is sometimes difficult to judge, especially when most of it is rather pointless, warranting an original score. While the use of Kilar's Hipoteza is brilliant, further use of his music does not compare to the well chosen pre-existing music in following Zanussi films. Another interesting case is the French refugee film Welcome (2009). It offers a great assembling of an original score by Nicola Piovani and music from both Armand Amar – Va, Vis et Deviens and Kilar' Il Sole Nero, which are strikingly similar in sound and emotion to Piovani' music.



Overview of episodes and the re-use of music by Wojciech Kilar

Damski interes z cyklu 'Opowiesci weekendowe' (1996)
-Wojciech Kilar - Temat z filmu Hipoteza
-Wojciech Kilar - Temat z filmu Bilans kwartalny

Dusza śpiewa z cyklu 'Opowieści weekendowe ' (1997)
-Wojciech Kilar - Temat z filmu Hipoteza

Słaba wiara z cyklu 'Opowieści weekendowe ' (1997)
-Wojciech Kilar - Temat z filmu Hipoteza

-Linia opózniajaca z cyklu 'Opowieści weekendowe ' (1998)
-Wojciech Kilar - Temat z filmu Hipoteza
-Wojciech Kilar - Temat z filmu Bilans kwartalny

Urok wszeteczny z cyklu 'Opowieści weekendowe ' (1998)
-Wojciech Kilar - Temat z filmu Hipoteza
-Wojciech Kilar - Temat z filmu Bilans kwartalny

Niepisane prawa z cyklu 'Opowieści weekendowe ' (1998)
-Wojciech Kilar - Temat z filmu Hipoteza
-Wojciech Kilar - Temat z filmu Życie Rodzinne

Ostatni krag z cyklu 'Opowieści weekendowe ' (1998)
-Wojciech Kilar - Temat z filmu Hipoteza

Skarby ukryte z cyklu 'Opowieści weekendowe ' (2000)
-Wojciech Kilar - Valse des Fantôme – Fantôme avec chauffeur
-Wojciech Kilar - Temat z filmu Hipoteza


(written 25-01-2020)
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