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Film takes hard look at modern Slovak reality

A NEW documentary film by Robert Kirchhoff entitled 'Hey, you Slovaks' presents a mosaic of life stories of people in different parts of Slovakia and comments on their handling the phenomena of the new era.
An old man talking about the past glory of the biggest light bulb factory in Slovakia while showing, as if in pantomime, how the glass was made by hand; an unemployed woman with two children talking about her daily struggle to make it until tomorrow; a man who won the popular 'Who wants to be a millionaire?' television game show and his dilemma about spending the money - these are all parts of Kirchoff's work.

A NEW documentary film by Robert Kirchhoff entitled 'Hey, you Slovaks' presents a mosaic of life stories of people in different parts of Slovakia and comments on their handling the phenomena of the new era.

An old man talking about the past glory of the biggest light bulb factory in Slovakia while showing, as if in pantomime, how the glass was made by hand; an unemployed woman with two children talking about her daily struggle to make it until tomorrow; a man who won the popular 'Who wants to be a millionaire?' television game show and his dilemma about spending the money - these are all parts of Kirchoff's work.

The film shows a harsh reality, which may seem frustrating at first but gives the film credibility. It does not portray the Slovakia of the beautiful High Tatra mountains nor downtown Bratislava with its cafes and restaurants. The filmmakers chose villages or small towns that are often ignored by the media unless a political scandal or a natural catastrophe hits the region.

With much respect, the filmmakers interview a homeless man living under a bridge, yet keeping his dignity. With slight irony, the film documents celebrations of Slovakia's independence with patriotic poems recited and fires burning high.

The film is not the first co-operation between Kirchhoff and the Institute for Public Affairs, which has earlier produced his documentaries about first-time voters and the Roma minority in Slovakia.

Hey, you Slovaks

Film by Robert Kirchhoff on poverty, the shock of capitalism and the path of Slovakia to Europe.
Written and directed by: Robert Kirchhoff.
Photography: Martin Kollár.
Produced by the Institute for Public Affairs and 3S video. Made with financial support from Open Society Institute and Pro Slovakia. VHS/PAL 48 min. Available at www.ivo.sk.Price Sk200 ($7).

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