This Could Be An Interesting Year

What is Slovakia? The makers of the new film Twenty (Slovensko 2.0) were seeking the answer to this question and it’s going to be possible to find the answers to similar questions in other films that are planned for 2014. And there are quite a few of them.

Ten directors, ten films, each one ten minutes long – these are the basic parameters of the Twenty project referred to above. It brings together authors of different generations, experience, poetics, orientation (makers of feature, documentary and animated films)… Among them we can find director Juraj Herz who made his reputation in the 1960s with films such as The Cremator (Spalovač mrtvol) or Sweet Amusements of the Past Summer (Sladké hry minulého leta), and Martin Šulík (e.g. Tenderness – Neha, Everything I Like – Všetko, čo mám rád, The Garden – Záhrada) who was the key filmmaker in Slovak cinema in the 1990s. Also Peter Kerekes, one of the makers of Velvet Terrorists (Zamatoví teroristi) which was chosen for the Berlin IFF, was given ten minutes to express himself. And Twenty which should be released in the spring, will also proffer contributions by Slovak female directors Zuzana Liová, Iveta Grófová and Viera Čákanyová.

In 2014, several experienced filmmakers will return to cinemas with new full-length projects. One of them is Miloslav Luther who made the film A Step into the Darkness (Krok do tmy) based on a novel by Alfonz Bednár and in collaboration with his brother – cinematographer Igor Luther (who also had a part in the making of award-winning foreign films such as The Tin Drum – Die Blechtrommel by Volker Schlöndorff or Danton by Andrzej Wajda). A Step into the Darkness is set in the 1950s and director Juraj Nvota also returns to the era of communism in his new film Hostage (Rukojemník) – a tragicomic story emphasising child protagonists.

Jaroslav Vojtek deals with the complicated relationship of children and parents in his film Children (Deti). This film is Vojtek’s feature debut, but before that he made several documentaries, some of which were closely related to children, so it may be expected that he will also use his experience this time for the benefit of authenticity. Moreover, his new documentary So Far, So Close (Tak ďaleko, tak blízko) should be premiered in 2014. In this film he follows the situation of families with autistic children.

It seems that the Slovak films on offer in 2014 will be varied also in terms of genre. Several films are prepared for cinema release, for instance Fear (Strach) – a set of horror stories by five directors, the crime comedy Senior Quintet, the romantic comedy Play It Cool (Klub odložených mužov), and Robert Kirchhoff, whose documentary Normalization entered into distribution last year, calls his new film Jazz Wars (Jazzové vojny), a documentary jam session. The road movie Stanko (Stanko, dir. Rasťo Boroš) is also to be premièred; this film was made as part of the Slovak Audiovisual Fund’s special support programme entitled Minimal which was intended for low-budget films with a profiled genre. Last year the films which received support, Indian Summer (Babie leto, dir. Gejza Dezorz) and The Candidate (Kandidát, dir. Jonáš Karásek), were released into cinemas. The latter became the most successful Slovak film of 2013 and it is also in the top ten domestic films since Slovakia gained independence in 1993.

We are able to mention only a small part of the films to be released in cinemas in 2014 in such a small space. Unfortunately. Or, rather, luckily, as we may state that there’s a great deal going on in Slovak cinema.

Daniel Bernát