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23rd Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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Slovak documentary film in the 1960s

The selection of eight digitally restored films presents a survey of the Slovak short documentary cinematography of the 1960s and captures the diversity of approaches of individual authors to the documentary medium.

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Confession
A prison film with a touch of Existentialism follows daily routines of a young woman and her fellow inmates: gatherings at the yard, work, hygiene, and quiet stares out of the barred window. Her fate was sealed long before she committed any crime because neither her family, nor our society could give her a hand when she needed it.
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Confession

Pavol Sykora
Czechoslovakia / 1968 / 16 min.
section: Slovak documentary film in the 1960s
Cursed Valley
An uncompromising documentary about remote areas in Eastern Slovakia; it takes aim at society and the state that is unable to guarantee a decent life for all its citizens. In a matter-of-fact way the film depicts poor living conditions and hopelessness for the future: children don’t attend school because they are needed to help in the fields, men leave for seasonal jobs, and alcoholism and even genetic diseases are on the rise.
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Cursed Valley

Štefan Kamenický
Czechoslovakia / 1966 / 12 min.
section: Slovak documentary film in the 1960s
I Am a Cursed Photographer
The film about the spontaneity of life and work captures the spirit and unconventional personality of photographer Pavel Hudec Ahasver. You will not learn any facts from this stylized portrait, just experience what the bohemian life in Czechoslovakia of the late 1960s was like.
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I Am a Cursed Photographer

Julius Matula
Czechoslovakia / 1969 / 14 min.
section: Slovak documentary film in the 1960s
Lilli Marlen
Dušan Hanák, the author behind the original idea of the film, was inspired by the ongoing Vietnam War. However, he questions the incorrigibility of man and the irreversibility of conflicts. A counterpoint between images (authentic archival footage) and sound (the famous Lili Marleen song performed by Marlene Dietrich) form the basis of the film. 
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Lilli Marlen

Peter Mihálik
Czechoslovakia / 1970 / 5 min.
section: Slovak documentary film in the 1960s
Old Shatterhand Came To See Us
A sarcastic report on living in an enclosed reservation behind the iron curtain. Against the backdrop of a first-plan confrontation between natives and inquisitive strangers, Hanák, in a sequence of amusing visual and audio situations, uncovers the weariness of a socialist society tired of building “brighter tomorrows”.
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Old Shatterhand Came To See Us

Dušan Hanák
Czechoslovakia / 1966 / 12 min.
section: Slovak documentary film in the 1960s
Photographing the House-Dwellers
A traditional, multigenerational family gathers in front of a partially built country house at various occasions. The house reconstruction, new family members, amusing and sad events – all these things call for taking family pictures. The admiration for everyman’s diligence is combined with an ironic emphasis on the paradox of grand illusions and everyday reality – the dearly bought conveniences of socialism.
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Photographing the House-Dwellers

Dušan Trančík
Czechoslovakia / 1968 / 15 min.
section: Slovak documentary film in the 1960s
The Unfinished Chronicle
A poetical documentary composed of archival footage that revives the intentionally forgotten personality of Vladimír Clementis, an intellectual and post 1948 Secretary of State sentenced to death in the Slánský trial. The film was made shortly after Clementis' rehabilitation and can be considered as part of a larger effort to cope with the 1950s regime.
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The Unfinished Chronicle

Rudolf Urc
Czechoslovakia / 1967 / 13 min.
section: Slovak documentary film in the 1960s
Water and work
The directorial debut by a pioneer of ethnographic film is a survey of technical monuments utilizing water drives as their source of power. A look back into the world of yesterday using a suggestive montage of images and music composed by Ilja Zeljenka based on the electronically preserved sounds of water engines.
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Water and work

Martin Slivka
Czechoslovakia / 1963 / 9 min.
section: Slovak documentary film in the 1960s
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