Top Pick: Krajinka: Film aims to put Slovakia on film map

The Slovak movie industry, which produces one or two new films a year, is hoping to reach out to a broader international audience with the film Krajinka (Landscape) by showing it with English subtitles. Written by two experienced Slovak screenwriters, Dušan Dušek and Martin Šulík (who also directed the film), Krajinka is also meant to put an end to international ignorance of Slovakia, to judge from the PR plug that appears on posters:
"This country never [existed] because nobody remembers it, nobody talks about it. So let's try. We'll begin to talk of its forgotten history and perhaps we'll learn something about it. And perhaps this county will appear on somebody's map."


Krajinka, which debuted in Toronto, can be viewed in Slovakia with English subtitles September 25-27.
photo: Courtesy Charlie's Cinema

The Slovak movie industry, which produces one or two new films a year, is hoping to reach out to a broader international audience with the film Krajinka (Landscape) by showing it with English subtitles. Written by two experienced Slovak screenwriters, Dušan Dušek and Martin Šulík (who also directed the film), Krajinka is also meant to put an end to international ignorance of Slovakia, to judge from the PR plug that appears on posters:

"This country never [existed] because nobody remembers it, nobody talks about it. So let's try. We'll begin to talk of its forgotten history and perhaps we'll learn something about it. And perhaps this county will appear on somebody's map."

The plot covers the period from the late 1920s to mid 1970s on what is now Slovak territory; during this time, Slovaks lived a difficult life, and happiness seemed to have abandoned this corner of the world.

Krajinka is a tragi-comedy that interweaves the life stories of its different characters, all of whom live in a village. We begin on a series of happy notes; Doctor Roth saves the life of a little boy, Ondrejko, by blowing cigar smoke into him; a young soldier named Imro, after making heroic love to the watch-maker's daughter for one hour, receives a watch as a reward; a beggar steals a haggis but is saved by St. Christopher from shame and the police.

But joy and good cheer suddenly diminish as war approaches. Doctor Roth and his family are sent to a concentration camp, never to return. Three armies pass through the yard of the Kamas family as if it were a miniature World War II battlefield. The countryside slowly grows more and more desolate.

The war ends with the promise of better times ahead, but the land continues to lose its inhabitants. The tailor Ondras is imprisoned for being an anti-social element, priests are arrested and the landscape remains without God.

After premiering in Toronto at the beginning of September, Krajinka can now be seen in cinemas across Slovakia. Thanks to the English subtitles, foreign visitors finally have a chance to see Slovak film making at its best.

Playing in Bratislava with English subtitles at Charlie's (Špitálska 4, Tel: 5296 3396) and Istropolis (Trnavské mýto 1, Tel: 5557 4939) September 25 to 27 (for details see movie schedule). Tickets cost 70 Sk.

Zuzana Habšudová

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