The film is based on the musical recording of the famous opera by Modest Mussorgsky about the tragic events surrounding the ruling of the Russian tsar Boris in the early 17th century. The recording was actually made two years before the filming with the participation of the Washington Symphony Orchestra (conducted by Mstislav Rostropovich) and several opera stars (the part of Marina is sung by Galina Vishnevskaya). Zulawski made the film just as we would be watching the theatrical performance. Then we are going through the sets and, finally, we notice the film crew. The director deliberately filled the picture with a plenty of anachronisms making the implications on the Soviet history and the other dictatorships of the 20th century.
Lucas has invented a new computer language but at the same time he has been informed about his strange terminal illness during which he has been gradually losing his memory. Shortly after that he meets Blanche who acts as a medium in a bizarre traveling show. Dying Lucas follows her to the sea resort where they spend together several days and nights.
Andrzej Panufnik once wrote ‘Music gets its eternal beauty from an ideal balance of emotion and intellect’. Although Panufnik is primarily known as a composer of symphonies and large-scale orchestral pieces, his three original works for solo piano perfectly illustrate this motto. They are all highly crafted, demonstrating the composer’s fascination with mirror forms and symmetrical patterns.