FNE at Art Film Fest 2019: Docs Shine in Slovak Season

    BATAstories by Peter Kerekes BATAstories by Peter Kerekes

    KOSICE: The plentiful offerings in the Slovak Season section of Art Film Fest, running through 22 June 2019, are largely thanks to a new batch of documentaries that underscore the strong Slovak tradition in documentary filmmaking.

    The selection consists of 16 new Slovak films, including nine documentary films with subjects ranging from social to political to personal.

    Slovak TV is a producer of most of the documentaries on display, including The Lonely Runners directed by Martin Repka. The Lonely Runners is a legendary Slovak poets collective from the 1960’s representing the modern stream in Slovak poetry. The road film follows the reunion of the group’s three founders.

    Slovak activist artist Peter Kalmus is the subject of director Adam Hanuljak’s observational documentary Crazy Against the Nation for the Slovak TV. The film captures the artist’s crusade against the still-standing monuments to Communism and Fascism. Slovak folk music is the theme of Svetozar Stracina, a biographical portrait of the musician of the same name, directed by the prolific documentary director Pavol Barabas for the Slovak TV.

    The Slovak TV documentary The Calling directed by Eric Praus is a portrait of three monks living in an Eastern Orthodox monastery in western Ukraine, whose peaceful life among the opulence of their surrounding contrasts with the turbulence of contemporary Ukrainian society.

    Tereza – The Charge of Love is an intimate portrait of the translator/interpreter Tereza Gasparikova and her invalid daughter, directed by Peter Gasparik. Mrs. Gasparikova worked for many years at Art Film Fest. The film explores her deep relationship with her daughter and coping with her own illness.

    The Polish/Slovak documentary The Wind. A Documentary Thriller directed by Michal Bielawski and produced by HBO Europe, Peter Kerekes and Telemark, looks at the atmospheric phenomenon of the foehn, a warm wind that descends from the mountainous regions of Slovakia. The film, labeled as a documentary essay, observes the effects on the inhabitants of the Tatra Mountains as they try to grapple with the psychological side effects of the wind.

    The selection winds up with: the Slovak/Czech/French/German/Austrian coproduction The Good Death directed by Tomas Krupa, about a terminally ill woman who travels to Switzerland to take control of her own death; An Extra Something directed by Palo Kadlecik and Martin Senc, which studies society’s acceptance of people with Down’s syndrome; and Batastories, a French/Czech/Slovak film from Peter Kerekes that examines the global brand created by Tomas Bata.