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Slovak films with English subtitles

THE SLOVAK Film Institute (SFI) strives to make the movies from its archives as accessible as possible to the wider public, and as a result all of them are issued with English subtitles. Some of its products are now being promoted in the form of special collections.

THE SLOVAK Film Institute (SFI) strives to make the movies from its archives as accessible as possible to the wider public, and as a result all of them are issued with English subtitles. Some of its products are now being promoted in the form of special collections.

“In 2006, we launched – together with the Petit Press publishing house [which publishes The Slovak Spectator] – the project Slovenský film / Slovak Film, with the aim of reviving in audiences an interest in domestic film production, and also to draw attention to the fact that some interesting and good-quality works have appeared here,” Simona Nôtová from the SFI’s press department told The Slovak Spectator. “Until 2011, we published ten movies from each decade, going back from the 1980s to the 1940s, often complete with bonus DVD tracks.”

The issued films have been fully restored and modernised from a technological point of view, and digitally re-mastered. “The selection was not random,” Nôtová said. “It represented the best of what was created in Slovak cinematography in the relevant period, and it also reflected the social and cultural situation in our country.”

She added that lately, DVDs including three films by the same author have become popular with movie buffs. Among these are DVDs with the Dušan Hanák movies I Love, You Love (1980), a drama that won the Silver Bear for Director at the 39th Berlin International Film Festival in 1989, Pink Dreams (1976) and 322 (1969); the Martin Hollý works Copper Tower (1970), Eagle Feather (1971) and Night Riders (1981); the Štefan Uher films Sun in a Net (1962), The Organ (1964) and Three Daughters (1967); Juraj Jakubisko’s Christ’s Years, aka Crucial Years (1967), Birds, Orphans and Fools (1969) and Sitting on a Branch I am Fine (1989); and the works of Slovak cinema pioneer Paľo Bielik Forty-four Mutineers (1957); Captain Dabač (1959); and Jánošík I and II (1963).

In autumn 2012, a DVD with the three-part co-production Dialogue 20 40 60, directed by a Czech, Zbyněk Brynych, a Pole Jerzy Skolimowski and a Slovak, Peter Solan, was issued. The last product from 2012 was a DVD with two French-Czechoslovak co-production movies: The Man Who Lies, directed by Alain Robbe-Grillet (and starring Jean-Louis Trintignant, who won a Silver Bear for his role in 1968); and Eden and After (1970). Many of the movies issued in this format represent films that were officially banned, or quietly prevented from being screened, during communist times (and, as a result, first shown outside Czechoslovakia) and seen by local audiences only after the Velvet Revolution. Thus, they can show the past values of (Czecho-)Slovak films not just to the younger generation, but also to some of those born earlier who were not allowed to watch them when they were shot.

“In 2013, fans of Slovak cinematography will get to watch DVDs featuring the movies Tenderness (1992) by Martin Šulík, Signum Laudis (1983) by Martin Hollý, Sweet Time with Kalimagdora (1968) by Leopold Lahola, three movies by Peter Solan and six with Dežo Ursiny,” Nôtová said, “as well as 15 short animated cartoons by famous cartoonist Viktor Kubal and the newsreels Týždeň vo filme, which truthfully reflect social events in Slovakia.” The DVDs can be bought through www.klapka.sk, www. petitshop.sme.sk, from selected bookshops and at the Lumiére cinema.

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