Slovak Documentary Revisited has brought reviews of three new documentaries from Slovakia during the last two weeks: New Life of a Family Album, Velvet Terrorists and Normalization (scroll down and you will find them). All fine and original works from a small country with 5.5 mio. inhabitants. With different approaches all three films deals with serious subjects, always with the use of a tone that includes humour or satire or sarchasm. And with a social or political commitment. All three with a look back from today.

It makes me take a memory tour back to my pleasant meetings with Slovak filmmakers – in this century! Much happened due to the excellent training programme Ex Oriente that I was part of for many years. Several filmmakers came to the sessions with their documentary projects. Here I met Marko Skop and Robert Kirchhoff (see post below), among others. In Bratislava they introduced me to their teacher, Boris Hochel (who died 2009), a strong figure at the Slovak film school and active in the promotion of the documentary in Slovakia. If I remember right Hochel worked with Dusan Hanak’s masterpiece ”Pictures of the Old World” from 1972.

By Marko Skop I remember two fine films, mild in tone with a subtle humour, ”Other Worlds” (photo) (2006) and ”Osadné” (2009), both about how the ordinary Slovaks can place themselves in the global village and the EU without losing their own identity. Robert Kirchhoff made in 2002 the strong ”Hey,You Slovaks” which, to quote the DocAlliance vod, where it is available for 1€!, is about ” Homeless people, single mothers, TV contest heroes, Czech underground philosopher, panel neighborhood, trains, pubs, empty factories, that’s Slovakia.” Skop also worked as producer for the unique “Blind Loves” by Juraj Lehotsky – who (I read that on their website) now has premiered his fiction film, “Miracle”, in Karlovy Vary.

And then of course Peter Kerekes with “66 Seasons” (2003) and “Cooking History (2009), with his own handwriting, an international name but there is also the fine “Sonia and her Family” (2006) by Daniela Rusnoková, the excellent editor Marek Sulik, the crazy short film “Arsy-Versy” (2009) by Miro Remo…   

If you go to the DocAlliance website

you find links to a lot of Slovak documentary films, enjoy!

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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