FNE Mourns the Loss: Juraj Jakubisko


    PRAGUE/BRATISLAVA: With the passing of Juraj Jakubisko we mourn not only the loss of one of the greatest living artists in Europe, but the passing of an era. Juraj Jakubisko was the last of a generation of filmmakers from the region that were giants in a time of political and artistic change.

    Juraj Jakubisko, credit: Jakubisko FilmHis life was an endless outpouring of art and creativity with work that included not only the masterpieces of cinema he created, but also drawings and other beautiful works of art.

    I can remember sitting one summer afternoon with Juraj and Deana, his wife and producer, in Karlovy Vary chatting over a coffee and after some minutes Juraj showed us an amazing drawing he had created as we sat there. His creativity was boundless. It never stopped.

    I was lucky enough to be able to call Juraj and his family my friends and his loss is both personal and artistic. A unique and profound talent has passed from among us, but his art will live forever. It is his gift to us.

    OBITUARY: Slovak Director Juraj Jakubisko

    By Zuzana Točíková Vojteková

    BRATISLAVA: The most famous Slovak director and also screenwriter and cinematographer Juraj Jakubisko died on 24 February 2023 at 84 in Prague. In addition to winning over 80 international film awards he was also an honourary founding board member of the FNE Association and FNE is forever grateful for his support.

    Nicknamed „the Fellini of the East“ due to his visual originality and magical realism, Juraj Jakubisko was born on 20 April 1938 in the eastern Slovak village of Kojšov. He studied photography at a secondary school for applied arts in Bratislava and graduated in film directing from Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts (FAMU) in Prague.

    He began winning international acclaim with his experimental short films even before his directorial feature debut with Crucial Years / Kristove roky (1967). The films The Deserters and the Nomads / Zbehovia a pútnici (1968), which won the Little Lion award for young artist at the Venice Film Festival, Birds,Orphans and Fools / Vtáčkovia, siroty a blázni (1969) and the tragicomedy See You in Hell, Friends / Dovidenia v pekle, priatelia (1970, completed in 1990) were banned in the 1970s, so for years, Jakubisko could only devote himself to documentary work.

    He returned to feature filmmaking in 1979 with Build a House, Plant a Tree / Postav dom, zasaď strom, which received positive reception in Amsterdam, before it was also banned for its anti-regime messages. His epic feature Millennial Bee / Tisícročná včela (1984) was a huge success with both audience and critics, as well as his children´s film The Feather Fairy / Perinbaba (1985), featuring Giulietta Masina.

    For Sitting on a Branch, Enjoying Myself / Sedím na konári a je mi dobre (1989) Jakubisko received new international acclaim, including the Grand Prize at the Moscow International Film Festival, while the satirical comedy An Ambiguous Report about the End of the World / Nejasná správa o konci sveta (1997), produced by Jakubisko Film s.r.o., brought him four Czech Lion awards.

    Jakubisko´s first English-language film, the historical drama Bathory (2008), produced by Jakubisko Film Slovakia in coproduction with J&J Jakubisko Film Europe SE, Film and Music Entertainment (UK), Eurofilm Stúdió (HU), the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., RTVS and Invicta Capital (UK), was at the time the most expensive Slovak and Czech production, and a huge box office success in both the Czech Republic and Slovakia, setting a record for admissions in Slovakia that stood unchallenged for many years.

    In 2000 film journalists and critics voted Jakubisko as the Best Slovak Director of the 20th Century. He was also the first director from Eastern Europe to win the Golden Seal at the FEST in Belgrade for his contribution to world cinematography in 2000.

    In 2001 he was named as senior lecturer at FAMU. One year later he received a Czech Lion for Artistic Achievement and in the same year he was honoured with the prestigious Pribina Cross, given by the Slovakian government for his significant contribution to the development of Slovak cinematography.

    The premiere of his last film Perinbaba and the Two Realms, produced by Slovak J&J Jakubisko Film Europe Production in coproduction with Czech  J&J Jakubisko Film Europe SE , STUDIO 727 and JOJ TV, the sequel of The Feather Fairy, is scheduled for release in 2023.