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25th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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Translucent Being: Karol Plicka

A large retrospective of films by Karol Plicka — a famous Slovak-Czech photographer, folklorist and violin virtuoso — that presents his acclaimed audiovisual film work, in which he served as director, cinematographer, and screenwriter. The work he left for future generations represents the essence and enduring significance of ethnographic film, and also calls for contemporary discussions on the anthropological concept of folklore in the first half of the twentieth century. Both his short-length and feature-length documentaries are a valuable source of reflection on the way of life of our ancestors, their traditions, the beauty of their costumes, and their determination to work hard in tandem with nature. Karol Plicka's work is still an endless source of inspiration and, through his films, the photographic documentation of society at the time is made complete by his confession of the time and society in which he lived and which he loved.

film database

Baroque Prague
Plicka's work is an extreme case of the multilingual version and its war and post-war form recalls many period cultural and political contexts. After the war the original version was supplemented by Czech commentary and the soundtrack was replaced by new music consisting of pieces by Baroque Czech composers. Slovak Institute is the partner of the section Translucent Being: Karol Plicka.

Baroque Prague

Karol Plicka
Czechoslovakia / 1946 / 13 min.
section: Translucent Being: Karol Plicka
Drowning of Marzanna
A perfect marketing film from the 1930s. The short film is an advertisement for Baťa’s new products, presented through the traditional celebration of the end of winter – the carrying of a lighted Marzanna into a stream. Plicka once again stylistically outdoes himself in his search for perfection in natural compositions, Moravian costumes, and traditional songs.   Slovak Institute is the partner of the section Translucent Being: Karol Plicka.

Drowning of Marzanna

Karol Plicka
Czechoslovakia / 1937 / 3 min.
section: Translucent Being: Karol Plicka
Cheb
A Czech folklorist who received a prize for a visual myth about Slovakia The Earth Sings (1933) at the Venice Biennale, made for Prag-Film a film about the culture and traditions of the Cheb district (The Egerland, practically uninhabited by Czechs by then), for which a propagandistic prologue and epilogue was shot by F. B. Nier.   Slovak Institute is the partner of the section Translucent Being: Karol Plicka.

Cheb

F. B. Nier, Karol Plicka
Czechoslovakia / 1942 / 13 min.
section: Translucent Being: Karol Plicka
Mr. President in Slovakia
A short reportage from post-war Slovakia. President Edvard Beneš came to Banská Bystrica to celebrate the first anniversary of the Slovak National Uprising. His journey through Central Slovakia was a motivating and celebratory moment for the people and the compatriots from the areas of partisan fighting.   Slovak Institute is the partner of the section Translucent Being: Karol Plicka.

Mr. President in Slovakia

Karol Plicka
Czechoslovakia / 1945 / 15 min.
section: Translucent Being: Karol Plicka
News Film 0509
The news film, shot by Karol Plicka, shows the first Czechoslovak President Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk on holiday in the Czech countryside. Plicka was often called upon by Masaryk to photograph portraits and family and state gatherings. The film material proves that Plicka was able to get unusually close to the president and thus capture his joys in an unusual setting.   Slovak Institute is the partner of the section Translucent Being: Karol Plicka.

News Film 0509

Karol Plicka
Czechoslovakia / 1931
section: Translucent Being: Karol Plicka
Over Hill and Dale
The second ethnographic film by Karol Plicka, produced by the scientific and cultural institution Matice Slovenská, follows the traditions of festivals, folk architecture, games, and ceremonies of Slovak culture in various villages across Slovakia. Plicka uses a simple filmmaking technique to visit people who are poor but rich in their customs and in sharing of folklore through singing and the beauty of their costumes.   Slovak Institute is the partner of the section Translucent Being: Karol Plicka.

Over Hill and Dale

Czechoslovakia / 1929 / 66 min.
section: Translucent Being: Karol Plicka
Prague Baroque
Plicka's yielding to the concept of the Nazi cultural film is recalled by a film shot for the cultural department of Prag-Film, which celebrates the beauty of Prague as a city constructed exclusively by German and Italian architects. The film was released with a German commentary and music by a German composer.   Slovak Institute is the partner of the section Translucent Being: Karol Plicka.

Prague Baroque

Karol Plicka
Czechoslovakia / 1943 / 13 min.
section: Translucent Being: Karol Plicka
Spring in Carpathian Ruthenia
An ethnographic study of Easter celebrations offers a poetic cameo of rural architecture and springtime customs in the mountains. Karol Plicka's film highlights ancient Slavic folk costumes as a Carpathian village bursts to life in a three-day joyful festivity. Children's carefree games are intercut with the solemn rites of Easter, ancient wooden churches and herds of sheep according to the laws of montage by Alexander Hackenschmied. Some sequences of this film which literally sings are also featured in Plicka's masterpiece The Earth Sings (Zem spieva). This silent film is so evocative one can hear the sound of the sheepherder's overtone flute – the fujara. Slovak Institute is the partner of the section Translucent Being: Karol Plicka.

Spring in Carpathian Ruthenia

Karol Plicka
Czechoslovakia / 1929 / 10 min.
section: Translucent Being: Karol Plicka
The Earth Sings
A cinematic poem with an impressive soundtrack that complements the final sketches of the folk culture of the Slovak nation. With its perfectly constructed dramaturgy, the work is based on the beauty of the natural cycle from the end of winter to the beginning of autumn, symbolized by the sun and the tradition of grape harvests. The aesthetically exceptional visual representation of folklore is complemented by poetic intertitles by the Slovak poet Ján Smrek.   Slovak Institute is the partner of the section Translucent Being: Karol Plicka.

The Earth Sings

Karol Plicka
Czechoslovakia / 1933 / 64 min.
section: Translucent Being: Karol Plicka
The Eternal Song
Karol Plicka was an important musician and composer. He recorded folk songs immediately after hearing them in musical notation to preserve them for future generations. Similarly, he records and interprets traditions associated with dance, folk song and local stories that vary from region to region in his film The Eternal Song. The short documentary presents merry-making in Slovak and Czech regions that are changing with the coming modernization and transformation of musical records.   Slovak Institute is the partner of the section Translucent Being: Karol Plicka.

The Eternal Song

Karol Plicka
Czechoslovakia / 1941 / 24 min.
section: Translucent Being: Karol Plicka
The Old Slovak Culture
Slovak folklore presents its beauty not only in celebratory customs and children’s games. The short documentary proves that Plicka perceived poetry also in the everyday work of the people, in their determination and their diligence with which they were able to create a legacy for the next generation in a unique connection with traditions and Slovak nature.   Slovak Institute is the partner of the section Translucent Being: Karol Plicka.

The Old Slovak Culture

Karol Plicka
Czechoslovakia / 1934 / 11 min.
section: Translucent Being: Karol Plicka
The President of the Republic dr. E. Beneš's visit
A record of the trip of the President of the Czechoslovak Republic Edvard Beneš to Slovakia. The footage maps the journey from Bratislava to central Slovakia, to the towns of Trenčianske Teplice and Mošovce.   Slovak Institute is the partner of the section Translucent Being: Karol Plicka.

The President of the Republic dr. E. Beneš's visit

Karol Plicka
Czechoslovakia / 1937 / 13 min.
section: Translucent Being: Karol Plicka
The Spring in Prague
The original introductory part of Karol Plicka’s film The Earth Sings (1933), which was replaced with a sequence of shots of Bratislava during the era of the First Slovak Republic. Spring in Prague is a short film, a poem dedicated to Prague – a city of baroque churches, modern houses of Wenceslas Square, or Wilson Station. Capturing the details of the streets in a modern way, this film by Plicka complements his extensive collection of photographic books about Prague and its architecture. Slovak Institute is the partner of the section Translucent Being: Karol Plicka.

The Spring in Prague

Karol Plicka
Czechoslovakia / 1934 / 10 min.
section: Translucent Being: Karol Plicka
To All the Agricultural People...
This short ethnographic film is the first part of the series Through the Agricultural World intended to promote village life and the work of the peasants to the townspeople. Plicka chooses stylistically significant and aesthetically impressive shots of sowing grain, Easter celebrations, and children playing in the meadow. Slovak Institute is the partner of the section Translucent Being: Karol Plicka.

To All the Agricultural People...

Czechoslovakia / 1931 / 1 min.
section: Translucent Being: Karol Plicka
Visiting Slovaks from New York through to Mississippi
Having finished his film Jánošík, Plicka embarks on the journey of a lifetime. Accompanied by a Slovak-Czech delegation of politicians, inventors, and cultural representatives, he is particularly interested in the life of Slovaks in America. He observes the towns and the architecture, and remarkably documents their old as well as new customs and skills. During his trip, he visited nearly more than eighteen major American cities, as well as Lake Ontario and Niagara Falls.   Slovak Institute is the partner of the section Translucent Being: Karol Plicka.

Visiting Slovaks from New York through to Mississippi

Karol Plicka
Czechoslovakia / 1937 / 82 min.
section: Translucent Being: Karol Plicka
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Česká televize
Český rozhlas
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