Slovakia film industry on revival track

NEW DELHI: Although the growth of the film industry in Slovakia is hit by a financial crisis, most filmmakers feel they are happy that they are now free to make the kind of films they want without fear of censorship.

According to director Juraj Nvota, filmmakers feel there is greater freedom now as compared to the time when these countries were part of the Soviet Union. Many filmmakers are, however, nostalgic of that period when finances were assured from the State.

Nvota directed Music, a film about a young amateur musician playing his beloved music at a variety of events as a caricature of the communist regime. The film also shows how people yearn for freedom in various ways.

Hollywood is beginning to cast its influence on Slovakian films, particularly after Slovakia became a member of the European Union.

Slovakia, however, depends heavily on television for fuelling the growth of local cinema. “Unlike India, it is television which sustains cinema in my country, where a total of ten to 12 films are produced per year,” producer Katarina Vanzurova tells

Vanzurova’s feature film Gypsy Virgin depicts the lives of the gypsies living in her country, who number 50,000 out of a total population of five million. The movie is about the almost forgotten story of a young Roma violin player whose playing cast a spell over everyone, all the way up to the court in Vienna. She became the first woman bandmaster despite being a gypsy.

Scriptwriter Lubomir Slivka, who had done the research on the film set on a folk lore of the 18th century, says a film had been made almost 35 years earlier in Czechoslovakia, but had not been a great success.

More movies are set to be produced in Slovakia. Says actress Dorota Nvotova, “The film industry in our country is on a revival mode. I expect more films to be made over the next few years.”

Agrees Slovakia counsel at the Embassy in IndiaTatiana Facikova, “While the state monopoly on film production including curbs against freedom of creativity were terminated, Slovak filmmakers lost their film laboratories and studios as a result of a murky privatisation. The creative teams dispersed which led to a huge decline in film production. But the industry has seen a revival in the past three years,” she avers.

Slovakia, which is celebrating 20 years of freedom from the communist rule, recently held its first ever film festival in Delhi. Five films were screened over three days and the festival was organised by the Directorate of Film Festivals in association with the Slovak Embassy.

The list included The City of the Sun, Blind Loves, Return of the Storks, Music and Gypsy Virgin.

The City of the Sun looks in a tragic-comic manner at the social and economic decline of the miners who under the previous regime used to be a privileged elite amongst workers.

Blind Loves uses actually blind actors to show how they spend their lives without the use of any person with sight. The film in an episodic format shows the lives of different groups of blind people.

Return of the Storks uses the story of a young flight attendant to establishing a cross-cultural dialogue in the region which seems to be unimportant though it reflects issues present all over Europe.

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