The big celebrations of the quarter century since the dispersion of the communist cloud above Czechoslovakia also call for a big reflection. While the Czech Republic is still waiting for a major cinematic evaluation of its democratic maturity, Slovakia prides itself on the film mosaic Slovensko 2.0, composed of short ten-minute films of diverse genres made by ten renowned Slovak directors.
“What is the genetic or programming code of the software of Slovakia? How is it used, how does it change?” Such were the questions asked by two Slovak producers Zora Jaurová and Mátyás Prikler at the beginning of the project. In 2013, 20 years had passed since Slovakia became independent from the Czech Republic, having boasted the status of a democratic country for even a few more years. That is why it seemed both tempting and inevitable to make a general commentary on the turbulent social events, many of which were symptomatic of post-communist countries. The producers, however, decided for a different concept of reflection. They chose to tell its story by means of the attractive medium of film, selecting ten renowned and distinct Slovak filmmakers for narrators.
The producers explain their decision to start the project in the following way: “Slovakia, as one of the youngest countries in Europe, celebrated the 20th anniversary of its modern history in 2013. The twenty years of the first democratic state in this region are a perfect opportunity for various kinds of reflection and retrospection. In the field of film, this opportunity is even more significant, since the short history of Slovak film of the independent era has brought rather isolated works than a complex stream of cinema to comment on the events moving the society. At the same time, however, there are several generations of remarkable film personalities of various film genres in Slovakia.”
It is the presence of different filmmakers behind the camera that gives the film Slovensko 2.0 a unique genre diversity, ranging from animated, feature and documentary film to experimental forms. The ten short films were made by three women and seven men; Viera Čákanyová, Zuzana Liová, Iveta Grófová, Juraj Herz, Martin Šulík, Peter Kerekes, Mišo Suchý, Ondrej Rudavský, Peter Krištúfek and Miro Jelok.
Legend of Slovak documentary film Martin Šulík has chosen a theme that is relevant in the current November days; a memory of Václav Havel. In his short film President’s Funeral he reflects on the death of Václav Havel as a moment of the end of a social epoch during which the society wasted its chance to fulfil the humanistic ideals of communality and solidarity.
Renowned documentary filmmaker Peter Kerekes, too, tends towards a negative perception of contemporary Slovak society, reflecting on the motive of a foreign country’s arrival in a state that is not able to take good care of itself in his film Second Chance. “Twenty years ago, Slovakia was unprepared to govern itself. With the current pace we are likely to reach democracy in about 200 years”, the director claims uncompromisingly.
The great of Slovak cinema Juraj Herz, on the other hand, offers a comic, even slightly satiric view of his native village of Kežmarok he revisits as its honorary citizen, revealing the places that are connected to the history of his family in his short film.
**Watch ten original narratives from the film album Slovakia 2.0 online at DAFilms.com from Monday, November 17 to Sunday, November 23, 2014 for free! **
Doc Alliance is a creative partnership of 7 key European documentary film festivals. Our aim is to advance the documentary genre, support its diversity and promote quality creative documentary films.