Weekend Stories, 1996-1997

Set in in post-communist Poland, Weekend Stories presents a series of eight episodes that examine moral dilemma in contemporary life. A Woman’s Business poses the question of forgiveness and finding closure in the absence of acknowledgment of guilt, as a middle-aged, emotionally fractured scientist named Zofia (Joanna Szczepkowska) is presented with an opportunity to face a callous and opportunistic entrepreneur named Lukowska (Magdalena Zawadzka) whose past influence with communist officials led to Zofia’s personal and professional ruin. Deceptive Charm presents the lure of financial gain over personal ethics as a struggling professor, Karol (Maciej Robakiewicz) is encouraged by his wife Iwona (Katarzyna Herman) to accept a part-time employment offer by a wealthy, dubious man (Zbigniew Zapasiewicz) based on his photogenic appearance. Little Faith chronicles the interrupted lives of a pragmatic scientist (Maciej Orlos) and his wife (Dorota Segda) as they struggle through issues of secularity and regaining true faith during an agonizing weekend while awaiting the results of their son’s medical tests. The Dilatory Line illustrates the overreaching effects of jealousy as a young director’s (Bartosz Opania) increasing suspicion over his colleague’s relationship with his girlfriend (Monika Kwiatkowska) brings animosity and chaos to a planned live television production. The Soul Sings examines the conflict of personal sacrifice and compassion when a struggling opera singer named Adam (Jacek Laszczkowski) is faced with a decision to risk his promising professional opportunity in order to assist an elderly neighbor (Maria Koscialkowska). Unwritten Law presents the variability of moral conscience when an opportunistic and callous married man named Czarek (Piotr Szwedes) witnesses the ruthless business practices of his employer (Krystyna Janda). An aging ballet dancer named Vitold (Daniel Olbrychski) is compelled to reassess his personal values and emotional distance when he is reluctantly reunited with his ex-wife and former dance partner, Jadwiga (Olga Sawicka), in The Last Circle. The Hidden Treasure presents the bittersweet homecoming of a humbled aristocrat (Maja Komorowska) who is given an opportunity to reclaim her confiscated family estate after the fall of communism.

Krzysztof Zanussi presents a compassionate, insightful, and provocative examination of the moral issues that present themselves in everyday life. Using variations of a recurring opening shot through a view from a window, Zanussi sets a tone of personal reflection as the protagonists in each episode attempt to reconcile with their own human frailty: vengeance and forgiveness (A Woman’s Business), greed (Deceptive Charm), absence of spirituality (Little Faith), obsession and jealousy (The Dilatory Line), compassion (The Soul Sings), sense of fairness (Unwritten Law), narcissism and emotional abandonment (The Last Circle), humility and service (The Hidden Treasure). Throughout each episode, Zanussi provides a compelling portrait of contemporary Poland, from the vestigial scars of life under shifting communist policies, to an increasingly impersonal and materialistic urban society. Inevitably, Weekend Stories proves to be a compelling and universally relevant glimpse into the quiet celebration and travails of modern existence.

© Acquarello 2001. All rights reserved.

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