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UPDATED: Slovak films get rave reviews

IT SEEMS that recently, several Slovak films have proven successful even outside the country’s borders, being released with much appraisal, while also being nominated for screenings at festivals and for awards.

Koza movie (Source: Martin Kollár)

IT SEEMS that recently, several Slovak films have proven successful even outside the country’s borders, being released with much appraisal, while also being nominated for screenings at festivals and for awards.

One of the most radical films of Slovak cinema – and the 1960s Czechoslovak New Wave, as Slovakia was part of Czechoslovakia then – Birds, Orphans and Fools by Juraj Jakubisko (produced in 1969) was released at the UK’s Second Run in 2014. It has recently made it among the 25 best blu-ray DVD’s for 2014, according to the British film magazine Little White Lies, Simona Nôtová of the Slovak Film Institute (SFÚ) wrote.

Jakubisko’s film appeared last June as the second of a collection of Slovak movies, after The Sun in a Net (1962, directed by Štefan Uher). The DVDBeaver also recently published its chart where Jakubisko’s film placed second. Also the graphic design of the DVD has been nominated among the best.

The British version of Birds, Orphans and Fools has new, adapted English subtitles and a 20-page booklet with an essay by British film reviewer Peter Hames who specialises in eastern-European cinematography.

Two Slovak films have been selected for the 65th Berlinale film festival: the Forum section chose the Slovak-Czech produced feature drama debut Koza (2015) by Ivan Ostrochovský for the programme of its 45th edition in the world premiere. Koza means Goat and it is the nickname of former Olympic winner, Roma boxer Peter Baláž, who after years of missing out on trainings returns to the ring to earn money and to change his partner’s mind about an abortion. He sets out on a tour with his “manager” Zvonko. In the movie, another former Olympic winner/ boxer, Ján Franek (bronze medals from 1980) who is now homeless, appears. The film, to be screened in Slovakia in autumn, has already won an award – for Works in Progress – at the Film Festival Karlovy Vary 2014 (in the Czech Republic).

The Generation Kplus in the Berlinale section will present the Slovak short animation film by Martin Smatana entitled Rosso Papavero (2014). Smatana’s short puppet animation tells the story of a small boy with a head filled with fantasies, who witnesses the performance of a dream circus.

Two Slovak films will be presented at the Italian festival in Trieste: last year’s Berlinale awarded the documentary Velvet Terrorists (2013) by Pavol Pekarčík, while Ivan Ostrochovský and Peter Kerekes will compete in the international documentary programme. In Silence (2014) directed by Zdeněk Jiráský will be introduced within the TFF Art & Sound section. In addition, the Eastweek Workshop Selection features young Slovak filmmaker Katarína Vargová and her project Sketch, Katarína Tomková of SFÚ informed.

For the Czech Lion, the award bestowed by the Czech Film and Television Academy, two Slovak co-productions were nominated: Fair Play (2014) by Andrea Sedláčková which is the leading candidate with 15 nominations; and the majority-Slovak Hostage (2014) by Juraj Nvota that received four nominations.

The movie Koza by Ostrochovský was nominated for the Best First Feature Award at the 65 Berlinale by the festival´s head Dieter Kosslick. Koza will be screened on February 8, the film’s PR manager Zuzana Kizáková informed on January 23.

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