Thriller resembling Slovakia's political reality breaks audience records

The Swine movie's characters include mobster, party chairman, and minister.

Jozef Vajda in film Sviňa plays mafioso.Jozef Vajda in film Sviňa plays mafioso. (Source: Łukasz Wojciechowski)

Slovak politicians have a weakness. They search for sex with underage girls. This turns out to be a problem when they fail to pay attention when someone is filming them. Representatives of the Catholic church are vulnerable in the same way. They all are blackmailed by the same mafioso.

This is not a description of Slovak reality, but an outline of the story of the Sviňa (Swine) political thriller premiered on February 6.

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Mariana Čengel Solčanská and Rudolf Biermann made the movie based on the eponymous book by journalist Arpád Soltész, who said he had not mentioned the word "swine" in it on purpose.

Everyone can thus find their own swine in it.

The choice is among politicians, ministers, mafia men and managers of a rehabilitation facility for youth that pretends to be saving young people from broken homes.

Slovaks do not see themselves at the edge of society

Three weeks before parliamentary elections, there is an extraordinary interest in such a film in Slovakia. No Slovak film has recorded such high attendance in its opening week like Sviňa.

98,056 people saw it in the first four days in cinemas. Distribution company CinemArt said that, including the preview, 103,660 spectators bought a ticket to Sviňa.

In 2017, more than a million and quarter spectators came to see Slovak films.

Among those were Únos (director Mariana Čengel Solčanská), Všetko alebo Nič (Marta Ferencová) and Čiara (Peter Bebjak), while the best opening weekend was that of the comedy Cuky Luky, seen by 53,000.

To compare, ten years earlier in 2007, all Slovak films were seen by 13,268 spectators. Since then, Slovak cinema has embarked on the way of social dramas.

Those were not attended as much also because they tell stories of people on the edge of the society and people do not go to cinemas to see them very much.

Sviňa is an example that people want to see topics that affect most, and current politics is one of them.

Even worse than we think

The filmmakers said that any similarity to real persons is coincidental. But they are clearly inspired by real events and the models of their characters are real people. In combination with fiction, there is a disputable story suggestively saying that the Slovak political reality is way worse than we think.

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