Great Slovak documentaries: Introducing the Cinematik.doc section

28. July 2022

The seventeenth edition of the Cinematik International Film Festival starts in Piešťany in less than two months. In the varied offer of its competition and non-competition sections, visitors can look forward to almost a hundred great new films, many of them in an exclusive Slovak premiere. As usual, lovers of quality documentaries should not miss the festival. The festival also dedicates one of its competition sections, Cinematik.doc, to great new films by domestic documentarians.

This year, the Cinematik.doc section brought together eleven extremely varied titles with both content and processing. One of them will be Purgatory (2021) by Zuzana Piussi, which holds a mirror to the Slovak judiciary in the face of the biggest cases of our time. Scandalous revelations, internal struggle between judges, people’s chronic distrust of justice. Purgatory comes to Piešťany with a special Jury Award from the IFF Jihlava 2021.

The film Ouca (eng. Sheep, 2021) with the subtitle (Un)true story also touches on a lively contemporary theme. In the movie, director and screenwriter Peter Pavlík recapitulates the pandemic through the eyes of “Ľuboš”, who refuses to believe information from the mainstream media and seeks the truth from alternative sources.

On the contrary, Slavomír Zrebný’s Slobodní (eng. The Free, 2022) is a movie about the past. It will show the friendship of Silvester Krčméry and Vladimír Jukl, important figures of the fight against totalitarianism, who participated in the Slovak Velvet Revolution.

In Erik Praus’ film Trančík (2022), a portrait of director Dušan Trančík, we get the opportunity to think about the role and responsibility of the artist in difficult social times, and we can continue these reflections with the film Odpočítavanie, Ivan Palúch’s last film (eng. Countdown, 2022). The life story of the actor, who starred alongside world stars, but practically stopped his career upon returning to socialist Czechoslovakia, is brought to Cinematik by his son, Martin Palúch.

A few more portraits of exceptional personalities entered this year’s competition. Pavol Barabáš, for example, in the film Dhaulágiri je môj Everest (eng. Dhaulágiri is my Everest, 2021) invites us to the extreme environment of the Himalayas in the company of the legend of mountaineering Zoltán Demján. Patrik Lančarič brings to Piešťany the story of Dež Hoffmann – photographer of the Beatles (2022) with a lot of previously unpublished facts and archival materials about the world-famous native of the Slovak town Banská Štiavnica.

In her film work, Anna Grusková mainly focuses on powerful female characters. This time, in the film Žena novej doby (eng. Woman of the New Age, 2022), she took aim at the fate of Alžbeta Göllnerová-Gwerková, the heroine of the SNP (Slovak National Uprising) and a pioneer of Slovak democracy. Alena Čermáková, on the other hand, brings to the competition a portrait of the poet and novelist Rudolf Dobiáš under the title Svetlo na konci dňa (eng. Light at the end of the day 2021).

The documentary competition will also be complemented by the film Drsne a nežne (eng. Rough and soft, 2022) by Ľubomír Štecko. Its protagonists are psychiatric patients bearing testimony about their inner worlds through works of art. The protagonist of Denis Dobrovoda’s film Katedrála (eng. Cathedral, 2021) also has his own world. A former monk near Madrid has been building a cathedral as big as the famous Sagrada Familia on his own for 60 years. He doesn’t give up, even if the locals think he’s crazy.