From Czechoslovak to Slovak and Czech Film

By Václav Macek (VŠMU, Bratislava)

© Václav Macek, 2005 [DOWNLOAD TEXT]

There was no hint in 1960 that nine years later Slovak film would become a unique phenomenon in Central European cinematography. Rather, after the sharp criticism of centralized state-sponsored cinematography leveled in 1959 at the first working festival of Czechoslovak film in Banská Bystrica (it was renamed The Finale Festival of Czech and Slovak Film in 1968), it seemed that the film studios in Prague and Bratislava would produce only socialist-realist films conforming to the propagandistic cultural policies of the Communist Party. However, film producers were no longer as powerless against studio heads as they had been 10 years earlier—they had learned how to achieve their ends without having their screenplays or completed films being banned. During these years, power slowly began to shift from politicians and film officials to creative, production, and development groups (dramaturgia).

The May 1961 premiere of The Song of the Gray Dove (Pieseň o sivom holubovi, 1960) directed by Stanislav Barabáš (1924-1994) marked the start of filmmakers’ use of ideologically unassailable themes (in this case, the Slovak National Uprising) to tell stories that were true-to-life and yet were filmed creatively. The Song of the Gray Dove rejected the narrative topics loved by Paľo Bielik, who was the most creative member of the founding generation of filmmakers. By using boys as his heroes, Barabáš was able to concentrate more on children’s fears, games, and happiness, which had not vanished even during the war years, rather than on reeducating viewers. Critics took notice of the film (it won the 1961 Czechoslovak Film Critics’ Award together with the Czech film People Live Here Too [Všude žijí lidé; dir. Jiří Hanibal and Stěpán Skalský, 1960) because of its intimate storytelling—six stories loosely connected by child-heroes—and its premise that children’s distorted reality can be more truthful than a so-called objective reconstruction of history. Critics also noted that the film was not without hope, despite its tragic ending.

Filmmakers’ increased self-confidence was illustrated by the famous speech given by Barabáš at a gathering of filmmakers in Ostrava in December 1961, at which he said: “We are not as stupid as our films.” In one pithy sentence, the skillful filmmaker summed up the state of Slovak film: if filmmakers were trusted more, they would be more likely to produce outstanding works. Recognized writers and playwrights gradually came to replace officials of the Communist Party on the readers’ commissions that approved scripts for production. This shifting of decision-making powers to filmmakers reached its peak in 1967-1969, when no ideological criteria were in force and production funding was not restricted in any way; filmmakers were almost alone in deciding which films to produce. [1] To this day, this remains the period of greatest independence for the feature film industry: no ideology, no commercial pressure, and sufficient funding. Barabáš’s words about filmmakers’ self-confidence marked the beginning of this period.

This increased self-assurance, not just vis-à-vis the Communist Party, but also in relation to the much more extensive experience of Czech filmmakers, was not based on just one feature film, but on a series of outstanding films that were made during the years 1956-1959 at the Studio for Documentary Films. The first Slovak graduates (film directors, screenwriters, cameramen, and directors of development [dramaturgovia]) of the Film Academy of Performing Arts (FAMU) in Prague, in the second half of the 1950s, brought concepts such as “truth” and “believability” to documentary films. They rejected “the aesthetics of the exalted camera,” which held sway in Poland as well as in Czechoslovakia. The stories that they told about people’s lives were not marked by propaganda and were based on real life (they came to admire Italian Neo-Realism during their studies at FAMU). They fully believed in film as “the most important art.” For them, there was no other art form that was a better match for the 20th century and none that would have a greater right to delve into what was happening in society.

By adding the influence of the French New Wave to this Neo-Realist background, the experience with documentary films, and the concept of "truth," then it is possible to understand how Slovakia could produce The Sun in a Net (Slnko v sieti, 1962), whose director was called the "John the Baptist" of the New Wave in Czechoslovakia by Czech critic Jaroslav Boček. When Štefan Uher (1930-1993) and screenwriter Alfonz Bednár (1914-1989) made The Sun in a Net, they opened up for cinematography the world of teenagers, who were more affected by emotional confusion than by the accomplishments of model workers, and who suffered more from misunderstandings with their parents than from “the omnipresence of capitalist saboteurs.” The microcosm of the urban courtyard, with its endlessly banging gate and a forest of rooftop antennas, or with airplanes flying overhead, was more important to understanding teenagers’ experiences than the binding guides to good behavior offered to young viewers in the films of the 1950s. For young filmmakers, it was more important to be sensitive to the doubts, insecurity, and quests of their adolescent heroes; their goal was not instruction, but recognition. They were more interested in elaborating on feelings rather than on events, so they wrapped a simple story about young love in multiple layers of commentary, observations, and pictures. These had so many meanings that it was possible to forget completely the old maxims about drama needing to have a plausible causality, a climax, and edginess to it. It was as if filmmakers (and viewers), just like their heroes, could merge with a stream of images not totally understood, but that drew them nearer to the teenage world. Uher started to break up the storyline, a technique that was later perfected by Juraj Jakubisko (b. 1938) and Elo Havetta (1938-1975).

Uher’s idea, which can be called “lyrical understatement,” influenced Czech filmmaking substantially more than Slovak. Otakar Křivánek’s 1969 film Our Daily Day (Deň náš každodenný) was a reminder that Uher’s lesson was not forgotten by the Slovak film world. Křivánek (1931-1997) started with the same elements as Uher: non-actors, generational conflict, a documentary camera style—but his outcome was a much more critical view of reality. His “understatement” is sarcastic or satirical, very different from Uher’s “lyrical understatement.” Scenes from the life of a so-called “average” Slovak family, in which everything revolves around the graduating daughter, are reconstructed in the real surroundings of a real family; Křivánek’s feature film is but a step away from being a documentary. The relationship between The Sun in a Net and Our Daily Day is similar to the difference between the Czech films Black Peter (Černý Petr, dir. Miloš Forman, 1963) and Ecce Homo Homolka (original Latin title, dir. Jaroslav Papoušek, 1969). [2]

The premiere of Uher’s next film, The Organ (Organ, 1964), surprised many viewers with the filmmaker’s new style, which had very little in common with the poetry of The Sun in a Net (for example, unlike The Organ, The Sun in a Net relied almost exclusively on non-actors). Uher’s later works continued in this vein: The Miraculous Virgin (Panna zázračnica, 1966), Three Daughters (Tri dcéry, 1967), The Genius (Génius, 1969), and If I Had a Rifle (Keby som mal pušku, 1971). With every new work and each new type of material, Uher tried to cover new ground, to give a new slant to diverse themes. This effort, which precluded a return to tried-and-true methods, was the basis of Uher’s artistic vision, but to a certain extent, it reflected a period that dreamed of the removal of all barriers: physical, spiritual, moral, ideological, etc.

It was as if each day revealed more new themes, ideas, and values to which Uher had to react and to which he had to adapt his new projects. Uher’s filmmaking oscillated around national self-recognition or a national catharsis. He constantly returned to themes that examined and illustrated the relationship between Slovaks and their faith, their personal history, and their culture (in this he is similar to Andrzej Wajda). At the same time, he was one of the first filmmakers to use creatively the artistic trends of the day, especially those favored by the so-called “Mikuláš Galanda Group,” which rejected simple realism, created abstract figures, and did away with realistic color schemes. He also emphasized his convictions about the visual specificity of film, engaging in epic richness now and again, thanks to his on-going cooperation with Bednár.
Uher’s The Organ opened the way toward a discussion about historical self-reflection in more than just a scholarly context. At the same time, he showed that a non-documentary film could harmonize with his generation’s criteria of “truth” and “truthfulness.” He created an almost mathematically precise work that built on metaphors and symbols, left room for conjecture, had multiple meanings, and yet was totally precise in its details. After the quasi-documentary The Sun in a Net, Uher opened the door for a different kind of stylization—metaphysical realism, in which a conversation with God is as important as a drunkard’s weakness in the local tavern. Almost every shot is a reference to the hidden or obvious metaphor of things, faces, and sounds. The transformation in Uher’s style changed the story of a Polish organ-playing deserter, who hides in a small Slovak town during World War II and is a catalyst in unleashing an avalanche of more or less tragic revelations and events, into a picture of a universal conflict between ideals and mediocrity (even though it was material localized in Slovakia and its history).

After the international success of The Organ (the film won the Special Jury Prize at the 18th annual International Film Festival in Locarno in 1965), Uher again “went astray,” as Communist doctrine would have had it. Surrealism replaced metaphysics and The Miraculous Virgin became part of this artistic trend. He made a bleak revel about the life of Bratislava’s bohemians during the years of the Slovak totalitarian Nazi-allied government. The film, whose basic motif is a longing for the beautiful, secretive, and unattainable Annabella (“The Miraculous Virgin” who hides from the authorities), makes use of numerous surreal elements—masks and figurines—as well as the spirit of dreams and sleep, in which water can burn and a person can descend to the world of the dead or can become a tiger. With this film, Uher not only became a representative of the period during which Slovak arts expressly joined the European creative scene, but he himself entered a realm in which traditional narration ceased to function and in which the subconscious played the same role as the psychological development of characters once had.

Uher’s constant obsession with the national theme was again given voice in Three Daughters, the first introspective film about the most difficult years of Communism. His use of emotion, metaphysics, and surrealism imparted a balladic quality to his work. The confrontation of two ideologies, Catholic and Communist, in the story of nuns being expelled from monasteries at the beginning of the 1950s, bitterly acknowledged that although ideology (history) should serve people, in reality it mercilessly rolled over anyone who got in its way, even if only briefly. [3]

At the close of the decade, the youngest generation of filmmakers came to the fore, and Uher seemed to fade somewhat into the background. In If I Had a Rifle, with uncredited co-writing by Havetta, Uher’s lyrical predisposition happily merged with Havetta’s playfulness and laughter (Havetta looks at even tragic moments from a comic angle). The story about children’s games during World War II is an epilogue to the ferment of both the filmmaker and the period. It was not until the end of the 1970s that Uher, in his Golden Times (Zlaté časy, 1978), again reminded viewers that he was irreplaceably important to cinema. In the 1950s, Paľo Bielik set the artistic standards for cinema, and in the 1960s, Uher made Slovak film equal to good European works.

 

Uher, together with Peter Solan (b. 1929), Barabáš, and Martin Hollý (1931-2004), transformed Slovak cinema from something provincial to something outstanding. The three generational peers expanded the roster of Slovak filmmakers, each in his own particular way. Uher unmistakably dominated, but his fellow filmmakers were no less valuable, even though they made fewer significant films than he.

In 1965, Barabáš again reached for a story from World War II, but from a substantially different angle than The Song of the Gray Dove. After his lyrical and narrative debut film, he shot Knells for the Barefoot (Zvony pre bosých, 1965) a story on the edge, in which the roles of executioner and victim change constantly, as does the guise of power and helplessness. This constant change takes place in a triangular relationship between two insurgents and their young German captive during the Slovak uprising of 1944. The film―in the spirit of Death Is Called Engelchen (Smrť sa volá Engelchen, dir. Ján Kadár and Elmar Klos, 1965) [4] ―was about uncovering the frequently contradictory layers of the human psyche, rather than criticizing a traditional, idealized picture of the anti-fascist revolt.

Barabáš adapted Dostoevskii’s novella The Gentle Creature (Krotká, 1967) during his second peak of creativity before his defection (he lived in Germany from 1969 on). As in Knells for the Barefoot, Barabáš continued to question the tidy designations separating victim and victimizer in the relationship between an old husband and his young wife. Both Barabáš and Hollý preferred to work with professional actors and both later became distinguished directors in various film genres― Hollý in Slovakia and Barabáš in Germany.

Within psychological realism, which encompassed the period’s predilection for existential mimicry, Hollý created an outstanding film, an adaptation of a story by the Russian author Leonid Andreev. Hollý’s The Ballad of Seven Hanged Men (Balada o siedmich obesených, 1968) reconstructed the fates of seven young anarchists sentenced to death for an attempted assassination. Shortly before their execution, the viewer sees seven different responses to the anxiety that each of the characters experiences. The characters, which are so very different, yet so convincing, change the viewer’s experience every second.

 

The last significant name in the generation that was born around 1930 and that came of age during World War II is Peter Solan. His style can be characterized as involved, absurd, and dramatic. Among his contemporaries, his work was best defined by the terms “situation drama” and “extreme situation,” in which a person’s character is revealed. At times this takes the tragic form of a boxer in a concentration camp, who undertakes to fight the commander of the camp for his life (The Boxer and Death [Boxer a smrť], 1962); at others it takes the form of absurdity, such as when a hard-working reception clerk at a small hotel tries to talk a new guest out of suicide, while the occupant of the adjoining room is also planning suicide—and succeeds (The Gentleman Did Not Request Anything [Pán si neželal nič], 1970) or when the Military Cross for Merit is awarded to a dog, a German shepherd (The Famous Dog [Slávny pes], 1971). His experiments include the use of multiple cameras so that actors did not know which one is filming them (Before This Night Is Over [Kým sa skončí táto noc], 1965) and his participation in the project Dialogue 20-40-60 (Dialóg 20-40-60, 1968), in which the same dialogue was used by three different directors: Peter Solan, Jerzy Skolimowski (Polish), and Zbyněk Brynych (Czech). Rather than national traumas, Solan was interested in psychological introspection and the angst of modern civilization’s frequently anti-human nature.

Ján Kadár is an important figure in the development of Slovak film. After he left Bratislava for Prague, he made films in tandem with Elmar Klos in the 1950s and 1960s (he defected in 1968 and was an independent filmmaker in Canada and the U.S. in the 1970s). Their best joint work, The Shop on Main Street (Obchod na korze, 1965), based on a story by Slovak writer Ladislav Grosman, was made in Slovak, with Slovak actors, and focused on the wartime Slovak Republic. Kadár dedicated the film not only to his relatives who died in concentration camps, but also to those who thought they could remain morally pure, even after collaborating with war criminals “just a bit” and seeking to gain “just a bit” from "Aryanization" [5]. The socially insignificant main character (played by Jozef Kroner) suddenly becomes an accessory to mass murder, but because this goes against his whole life, his betrayal of himself ends tragically. The Shop on Main Street is a very good illustration of the close links between the two national cinemas, Slovak and Czech, under one production unit at Czechoslovak State Film. The film was produced by the Barrandov Studio in Prague, but grew creatively out of Slovak filming, so that its designation as a Czecho-Slovak, or rather a Slovak-Czech work is well-founded.

A special place in the development of feature films is reserved for Eduard Grečner, the creator of just one good film, Dragon Returns (Drak sa vracia, 1967), titled after the nickname of the lead character. After his initial work with Uher, Grečner made his mark as a proponent of the so-called “intellectual” film, the antithesis of the sociologically, or rather, socially critical film. Grečner’s great role model was Alan Resnais, a young French filmmaker who sought to introduce Slovakia to the idea of film as a labyrinth in which meanings are created not by stories, but by complex configurations of dialogue, shots, and various layers of time, thus differentiating film from both literature and theater. In Dragon Returns―the story of a solitary hero who is needed by villagers living far in the mountains, but who is rejected by them at the same time because of his detachment―Grečner brought the tradition of lyricized prose to life through a whole series of formal aesthetic techniques. Alain Robbe-Grillet immediately developed this idea in the film shot in Bratislava The Man Who Lies (Slovak: Muž, ktorý luže; French title: L’homme qui ment; 1968), and perfected it in Eden and After (Eden a potom, 1970).

The second half of the 1960s saw the rise of a distinctive generation of filmmakers who were no longer marked by the war, like Uher and his contemporaries had been. This generation began making films at a time when the concept of art in general was changing. Artists rejected static pictures and declared reality itself to be a work of art; composers and musicians rejected melody and used everyday sounds in their performances; writers gave up on plot. The creative work of Jakubisko, Havetta, and Dušan Hanák (b. 1938) diverged substantially from that of their predecessors.

Jakubisko’s Crucial Years (that is, a man’s age of around 30 years, also known as Christ’s Years [Kristove roky], 1967) had all the standard features that young filmmakers would later use to full advantage. It was left to their courage to change the visual form of films. Uher and his contemporaries had enriched feature films with a down-to-earth style, with a directness that had defied the traditional artificiality of the studio. The new generation did not have such a strong desire for verism; instead it evoked dreams, irreality, and a visual beauty that is less interested in what is actually in front of the camera than in the image that appears on the film. At the same time, the filmmakers did not hesitate to go to extremes.[6] Crucial Years was a rejection of socially relevant themes, simple causality in the storyline, psychological realism, and a preference for the individual over the masses.

Jakubisko made four films over three years: Crucial Years, Renegades and Pilgrims (Zbehovia a pútnici, 1968), Birds, Orphans, and Fools (Vtáčkovia, siroty a blázni, 1969), and See You in Hell, Friends (Dovidenia v pekle, priatelia, 1970; but completed only after it was released from the censors’ “vault” in 1990). Each of them puts a distinct accent on narrative. In Crucial Years two brothers (an artist and a pilot), trying to find themselves and each other, spend their time re-evaluating their goals and values. Jakubisko turned to history (World War I and World War II) and to science fiction (life after World War III) for the first time in the three stories that make up the film Renegades and Pilgrims. In the story about a frenzy born of love and slaughter, an unmanageable and unforeseen eruption of brutal aggression is connected to scenes that are practically a carnival of exuberant joy. The frenzy oftentimes changes to madness, as if the characters of Russian author Isaak Babel’s stories had come to life in eastern Slovakia. The film Birds, Orphans, and Fools is a manifesto of the “flower children” generation, in which French director François Truffaut’s triangular plot from Jules and Jim (1962) becomes a drama about young people who have stopped believing in traditional values, but are having great difficulty finding their own. Only after the fall of Communism was Jakubisko able to finish See You in Hell, Friends, an apocalyptic vision of the annihilation of the human race.

What connects Jakubisko’s works is an unsettling questioning of boundaries, a feeling that the heroes have found themselves in a period where the old rules no longer apply, but new ones have not yet been established. His characters are members of the hippie generation, even if they are thousands of miles from the American originals. In the end, what distinguishes them from other believable or unbelievable characters is a seriousness, or perhaps a moral imperative, that does not allow them to lose their awareness of anxiety and pain (despite their playfulness) and to become just figurines on a constantly revolving merry-go-round of happiness.

This new generation rejected the civic relevance of art. Uher, Solan, Barabáš, and Kadár considered film to be not just the most important art, but the art that could change society, that could affect the conscience of viewers and society. By contrast, Jakubisko, Havetta, and Hanák rejected the imperative and even constricting presuppositions of creative work. The young filmmakers completely changed the idea that a film should be stylistically homogenous (Jakubisko included shots of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia on 21 August 1968 in the opening of his film) and at the same time kept in mind that the viewer was not looking at reality, but was observing an image, a work of art—that the viewer was a participant in a show, a play, that he was not a voyeur peering into people’s lives. By making this change, the young generation had gone to extremes, and after exhausting the possibilities of this approach, it was natural for Slovak cinema to return to “realism” in the 1970s (substantially assisted by the so-called policy of “normalization”—that is, the renewal of the totalitarian status quo from before the time of liberalization in 1968).

From the time of his studies at the School for Industrial Arts in Bratislava in the 1950s, Jakubisko formed an inseparable duo with Havetta, his fellow student in the Department of Feature Film Production at the FAMU in Prague in the 1960s. Even though the two of them were very similar, they were quite different in their filmmaking. Havetta made only two feature films: The Gala in the Botanical Garden (Slávnosť v botanickej záhrade, 1969) and The Lilies of the Field (Ľálie poľné, 1972).

In the course of the separation of Slovak and Czech cinema, establishing them as distinct phenomena not subsumed by the notion of “Czechoslovak film,” Uher first made Slovak feature films equal to good Czech and European films. The young generation of filmmakers then brought in elements that made Slovak cinematography distinctive. It could no longer be said that Jakubisko and his colleagues were simply variants of other filmmakers; the change from a joint style to something unique could not have happened in other than a Slovak context.
Jakubisko brought to film the young generation’s lack of constraints and its loss of inhibitions about what film is and is not; the director calmly broke all the taboos about themes and aesthetics. Havetta enriched filmmaking with a lightness of being that was reminiscent of French charm and lightness, like that of a carnival or a holiday, but which, at the same time, was fully a part of its environment. Havetta’s The Gala in the Botanical Garden is the essence of joy. The characters may experience greater or lesser problems, but these problems quickly run their course and come to a happy end. The carnival-like inversion of the elevated and the earthbound, the high and the low, renews the primeval joy of living that every person experiences in childhood, but prodigally wastes in his adulthood. This is far removed―although only by four years―from the older The Shop on Main Street, with its tragedy of a little Slovak person who wants to capitalize on crime. Havetta based his work not just on a whirlwind of joy and marvels, but also on an ever-present conviction that everything is but a play or a film, set apart from the world of reality. For him, film became a circus tent from which the viewer has to return to the world after a performance, but in which, for one-and-a-half hours he can experience a marvelous world of conjuring tricks, acrobatics, and beauty.

Havetta originally worked on a carnival movie about the Slovak National Uprising, but in the end, could not finish it because of the ideological attacks on his debut, The Gala in the Botanical Garden (Uher used his screenplay to make If I Had a Rifle in 1971). Havetta made his second film, The Lilies of the Field, during the period of so-called “normalization,” as a sort of postscript to the 1960s. The Lilies of the Field is the story of men who had returned home from World War I—not deserters, but soldiers who had been discharged and who did not know how to fit back into society, who did not know why they should go back to tilling the soil and looking forward to the harvest. Their disengagement is contrasted with the traditional life of farmers, which does not question life’s values and which considers work as natural as breathing. The young men, in their roles as vagrants, outcasts, and beggars―like the birds of the field that do not sew nor reap, yet sing beautifully―ask whether such life is not as valid as a life of work and a career. After this film, Havetta was not allowed to make any more films.

The third great name in this up-and-coming generation, Dušan Hanák, is characterized more by his intellectual reserve rather than by the sensuality, impulsiveness, and playfulness that characterize the films of Havetta and Jakubisko. Hanák’s methodicalness and his admiration of existentialism (then in vogue) collided with their charming Rabelaisian gluttony. Jakubisko and Havetta coupled Slovak film and culture to improvisation and spontaneity, and became symbols of a generation that rejected any kind of established authority, either Communist or non-Communist. In his debut film, 322 (1969)—that is, the code for cancer in medical records of diseases—Hanák indicated that he would rather focus on intimate entanglements, that his territory was more Hamlet than Sancho Panza. At the same time, the young filmmaker connected historical trauma—his main character suffers pangs of guilt for his role in the forced collectivization of private farms in the 1950s—with the central theme of his generation, that is, what lies hidden beneath the concept of “an authentic life.” It is no accident that the embodiment of this ideal is a teenager who ignores all the rules and then becomes the person who is able to teach the main character the meaning of “apple” and “tree,” the meaning of the simple things of life. [7]

The years 1969-1970 closed out an exceptionally rich decade for film producers. At the beginning of the decade, Slovak and Czech filmmaking were not discrete phenomena, feature films in Czechoslovakia did not challenge the term “Czechoslovak film.” At the end of the decade, the works of filmmakers such as Uher, Solan, Jakubisko, Hanák, and others caused this term to lose its meaning; it was replaced by the discourse of Slovak and Czech films made in Czechoslovakia. What is more, it was not just the nation’s cultural elite that identified with the works of both generations, but also gradually the broader public at art film theaters. This is how these works became a natural part of national culture. In the course of one hectic decade, Slovak feature films came of age and took on their own special form.

Václav Macek, University of Performing Arts (VŠMU), Bratislava
Translated by Helen Fedor, Library of Congress


Notes

1] Pavel Branko realistically captured the trend at the Bratislava studio in the title of his article “Experimentálne štúdio Koliba?”(“Koliba Film Studio—An Experimental Studio?”) Film a divadlo 4 (1969).

2] A similar change can be seen even in the work of a single filmmaker. In 1965, Dušan Hanák completed his studies with the film Learning (Učenie), in which the conflict between student hair stylists and the pseudo-morality of their teachers evokes some satirical commentary. Two years later, in his film Old Shatterhand Came to See Us (Prišiel k nám Old Shatterhand), a series of minute observations on life under so-called “real socialism” provokes sparkling ironic and satirical commentary—a broadside against the bankrupt Communist system.

3] In 1968, Štefan Uher very much wanted to make a feature film about Jozef Tiso, a priest and the President of wartime Slovakia, in whom he saw a great internal conflict between his belief in God and the practices of his government, which made it possible to deport its Jewish citizens to German extermination camps.

4] Based on Ladislav Mňačko’s famous novel, Ján Kadár and Elmar Klos made a film about the mass murder of the inhabitants of a village by German troops as a result of insurgents’ cowardice during the uprising.

5] Aryanization was the term for the confiscation of businesses from Jews and their transfer to Christians.

6] Crucial Years was originally prohibited from distribution by technical inspectors who considered the extreme graininess of the shots a shortcoming rather than something intentional. Another course of action that was unimaginable for the older generation was Jakubisko’s manipulation of nature, when he had the grass painted because its color did not look right on film in Renegades and Pilgrims.

7] After he finished school in 1965, Dušan Hanák made many documentary films. He later made Pictures of the Old World (Obrazy starého sveta, 1972) as a special appendix to the 1960s. It was a film that paid homage to real people living in isolated places in northern Slovakia.

© Václav Macek, 2005

Updated: 27 Dec 05