AT THE latest International Documentary Film Festival in the Czech town of Jihlava, the Slovak film Hranica (Border) by Jaro Vojtek and Marek Leščák won in the category Between the Seas, which features films produced in central and eastern Europe.
Hranica tells the story of the village of Slemence which was violently and artificially divided in 1945 between Czechoslovakia and Ukraine, then part of the Soviet Union. The division tore apart whole families, friends, a cemetery, work teams and hereditary lands. Even now – after many political and territorial changes – the border still exists and since it now marks the most eastern frontier of the Schengen zone, it is not very likely to stop being a border post soon.
Because residents of both the Slovak and Ukrainian villages spoke Hungarian, unlike the border guards who prevented them from personally meeting, they often informed counterparts across the border about newborns, the deceased, and weddings by singing in Hungarian while working in the fields.
The movie tells the stories of several people who still remember the times of division, who witnessed the construction of the tall fence, or who recall funny stories about drunken Ukrainian border guards. The movie had its premiere in Jihlava and it will now be shown in Bratislava and later also in Martin and Malacky. Recently, the Slovak and Ukrainian villages on the border made headlines again, as the crossing was closed after an outbreak of flu epidemic in Ukraine (see page 1).
Another Slovak film receiving an award at the film festival was the short documentary Arsy-Versy by Miro Remo. It was awarded a Special Mention by the Silver Eye Jury.
9. Nov 2009 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff