Weekend: Slovakia has selected its Oscar candidate, and the choice is no surprise

Philip Morris has opened an interactive laboratory in Banská Bystrica, and private radio stations will say goodbye to Slovak music.

Children flying kites in Žilina.Children flying kites in Žilina. (Source: Erika Ďurčová/TASR)

This week, we are writing about lost artworks found in a cellar, a Slovak literary prize winner, and the latest happenings in Bratislava.


Lost artworks found in a cellar

The cellar of the old part of Považská Bystrica Town Hall has hidden art treasures – works by the Slovak painter Imro Weiner-Kráľ.

On the same day of this discovery, his other works were found in the storage room of a local school. One painting portrays a family, and two other works were probably painted during the 1945 liberation of Považská Bystrica.

Experts of the painter's life and work have already confirmed their authenticity. The discovered paintings are on display in a local private art gallery. The exhibition has been opened on the occasion of the 120th anniversary of the birth of Weiner-Kráľ.

"It is a strange symbolism," said the mayor Karol Janas, "For many years, the paintings have been hidden from the world, and now, ahead of the anniversary, they will see the light of day again."

He added the painter himself is said to have donated the paintings to Považská Bystrica, his hometown, but nobody knows exactly how many. Some of his works were also found in an unused safe in the past.

Laboratory: Philip Morris has opened the interactive laboratory 'A Smoke-Free World' in Banská Bystrica, introducing smokers to the science and research behind modern smokeless nicotine alternatives. The laboratory, open until November 9, is located next to the Europa shopping centre.

Egypt: Slovak Egyptologists contributed to a major discovery during a research session at the Tell el-Retaba archaeological site in Egypt.


Unicorns wins an award

A debut collection of short stories, Unicorns, written by Barbora Hrínová, has been awarded this year's literary Anasoft Litera prize.

"What is unnoticeable and often considered peripheral or inferior, comes to the centre of attention in Barbora Hrínová's book Unicorns," the jury said. "Hrínová shows us that the fragility that we tend to overlook can be of value. Sensitivity in her debut short stories is not presented as a failure but is convincingly shaped as a fundamental attribute of humanity."

Hrínová writes about otherness, but she does not paint it as something exotic or exploit it, and that is why she allows us to adopt different ways of life or the search for identity, the jury went on to say.

Hrínová on "unicorns" or endless seekers, that is, people who are seen as different in a way, though they want the same things as other people:

The writer studied dramaturgy and screenwriting in Bratislava, where she currently works. She also studied in California thanks to the Fulbright Program.

Other developments from this week

  • The Slovak film 107 Mothers, directed by Peter Kerekes, which talks about the life of mothers in a Ukrainian prison, has been selected as the country's nomination for the Oscars.
  • The Culture Ministry is planning to scrap Slovak music quotas for private radio stations, but artists protest against this move.
  • A Soviet-made fighter jet has "landed" in the new Tri Duby park situated next to the railway station in the spa town of Sliač, central Slovakia.
  • Discover the unknown beauty of the Strážovské vrchy mountains and its smaller independent ridges.
  • Four new bridges connecting Hungary and Slovakia, including a cycling bridge, should be completed by 2023, The Budapest Times reported.


Goodbye Lafranconi. Welcome Lanfranconi!

After almost three decades, Lafranconi Bridge has finally undergone a slight name change; the letter "n" is no longer missing from its name.

The bridge opened in Bratislava in 1992, when it was also given the incorrect but widely accepted name.

In recent weeks, the correct naming on road signs has been marked by the National Highway Company, and the D2 motorway bridge has thus been renamed Lanfranconi Bridge.

Enea Grazioso Lanfranconi was an Italian builder and inventor who also worked in Bratislava. He outlined how to regulate the Danube to protect the city from floods.

Public transport stops bearing the incorrect name of the bridge were changed to the correct name by the Bratislava public transport company at the end of last year


  • Display: Kunsthalle is exhibiting Katarzyna Krakowiak's artwork "It Is Not Night, Yet" until mid-November.
  • Ranking: Bratislava Region has made it among the top 100 globally sustainable destinations this year again thanks to the project of treehouses in the Small Carpathians and the Eversum project, which should see shuttles powered by electricity introduced to the streets of the region.


Turning a deaf ear to Slovaks' exceptional act of resistance

"Planes are humming darkly in the sky. They only recently bombed the Apollo. The thought of the Apollo and the planes overwhelms him with an angry sense of despair.

Why the Apollo refinery? Why did they not drop bombs on that terrible grave 60 kilometres from our northern border? Why not, when they know about it? They could have destroyed SS barracks, ramps, crematoria, roads, a railway line there. Why not?"

These reflections can be found at the end of the autobiographical novel What Dante Did Not See by Alfréd Wetzler. Not a theorist nor a professional writer, but a witness, Wetzler describes what he himself experienced in the Auschwitz death camp.

Rudolf Vrba and Wetzler both escaped the camp to report on the atrocities in the camp to the world. Their report was widely ignored, but the world already knew about the atrocities.

So, why did not a single bomb fall on Auschwitz, and people continued to be murdered there?

Thanks for joining me. Have a lovely weekend. - Peter

Do you have any tips? You can reach Peter at peter.dlhopolec@spectator.sk

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