‘Spoor’, directed by three-time Oscar nominee Agnieszka Holland and produced by Studio Filmowe “Tor”, received its world premiere in the main competition at the 67th Berlinale – Berlin International Film Festival in February where it was awarded the Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize award, an award given to films that “open new perspectives on cinematic art”.
The feature follows the story of Janina Duszejko, a retired engineer living in the Sudeten Mountains who stumbles upon the dead body of her neighbor one snowy winter night. The man, a poacher, died a mysterious death.
“In every one of my films the music presents me with a challenge underlined with anxiety. This crucially important element of the emotional narrative is added only after the completion of the shoot and, in most cases, the editing of the film. Hence my fear, that this new addition may become something alien, superimposed, interfering with the intimacy of my narrative.
At the same time, my control over music is extremely limited. I lack the language, which would allow me to precisely articulate my needs towards the composer and I often have to refrain to using so-called temp tracks to convey my ideas. (Pre-existing music during the edit, as a guideline for the composer.) Though this method has often made the composer undergo a painful process of translating someone else’s music into their own vision, it has allowed for quite precise and efficient communication between us.
But with my three last films (“In Darkness”, “Burning Bush” and “Spoor” – all of which have been scored by Antoni), this form of communication has failed. I just wasn’t able to find the right music to get my vision across to the composer. We had to look for the right solution through a painstaking process of trying out and eliminating a whole range of musical ideas and concepts. It involved a lot of intense discussion between us. The final effect is surprising to both of us, but it gives me the certainty that the score carries the film, providing it with an additional dimension. It drives the narrative with a wild energy, while expressing the inner contradiction of the main character, and underlining the stylistic originality of this eclectic story. Both the composer and I had to abandon our respective comfort zones, and I am quite certain that this allowed us to transcend our limitations.” – Agnieszka Holland
“This score is a result of a long process. My first creative meeting with Agnieszka took place in February 2016. The crew was shooting the last scenes on location in Berlin and I invited Agnieszka to come to my home studio and listen to my first concept of the main theme. The beginning sequence of the film is a spectacular collage of beautiful, majestic pictures of nature, full of mystery and energy. I felt inspired by it and presented the director with a richly instrumented, dark and threatening orchestral tableau, a very wagnerian concept. She initially loved it, as it felt right on spot; a grand opening of a spectacular film.
It took us months to get rid of this idea and arrive at a set of musical themes very much opposite to what I’ve just described. We ended up with a score full of light, wit and wilderness. Stuck with my concept, I instinctively fought against Agnieszka’s pressure to humanize the score. At some point, during a prolonged spotting and composing session in Bretagne, Agnieszka and our editor, Pavel Hrdlicka, provoked me by using musical material from a National Geographic documentary for one of the crucial scenes in the film. At first I was appalled. Only with the help and inspiration from my wife and collaborator, Mary Komasa, I started realizing, that the less we, the narrators, try to treat ourselves seriously, the more powerful our story becomes.
For a composer of film music, every new assignment is a repeated journey away from the limitations of the creative ego, towards symbiosis with the greater narrative. With “Spoor”, I arrived at a result that I still find surprising. Musically, I reached something I had never known I had in me.” – Antoni Komasa-Łazarkiewicz