PORTRAIT / MARTIN
In this new section, goEast will annually introduce a young director
who grew up in times of socialism and whose artistic work reflects the
changes after the downfall of the Soviet Union. Portrait is meant to enable
us to keep track of the artistic signature of young directors born into
these turbulent times of change. The series will begin by presenting a
selection of films by Slovakian director Martin Sulik.
Martin Sulik, one of the most successful Slovakian filmmakers today,
was born in 1962 in Slovakian Zilina as the son of a theatre-actor. The
rest of his family, however, comes from a more modest background: his
grandparents were craftsmen and farmers, which is why Sulik spent a lot
of his childhood in the countryside. This aspect of his heritage is clearly
mirrored in his films, whose heroes are often from the countryside, thoughtful
and stubborn, naïve and melancholic. They would rather return to
their home than leave it – or at least they try to, be it in the
literal or in a figurative sense.
At the beginning of the 80s, Sulik started studying directing at the VSMU,
the Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts in Bratislava, from which he graduated
in 1986 – during the birth of “Perestroika”. The budding
filmmaker was confronted with the disintegration of the socialist system,
which also loosened – but did not completely surrender – its
control over the arts. Sulik was faced with the paradox of this situation
when he made HURA!, a bold documentary about a former political prisoner:
only after November 1989 was he able to finish it without interference.
In 1991, the 29-year-old director and screenwriter, who had already won
some awards at smaller festivals – some of them international –
directed his first feature: NEHA, which turned out to be the last film
produced at the inadequately privatized Slovakian studio “Koliba”
before its collapse. NEHA came out at a time when the audience –
who had endured 40 years without freedom – hungered for non-fiction
films; for information that up to now had been prohibited or falsified.
Sulik, on the other hand, told an intimate story without a social or historical
basis. Today the film enjoys much more public attention than it did in
the early 90s.
Sulik’s next film Vsetko,
co mam rad (1992), demonstrates his characteristic affinities and
themes: his commitment to familial and filmic tradition (the film is full
of cinematic allusions), his longing for a full, harmonious life, for
a thoughtful, profound presentation of the subject-matter, for poetic
films with a clear signature. The reviews for Vsetko contained many comments
about its reflections on Slovakian identity, which are expounded on in
the conflict between love of the homeland and culture and the acceptance
of western values, or the emigration into a strange land. Especially outside
Slovakia, the film’s hero Tomas was seen as a prototype of the apathetic
“Eastern European”, who cannot make up his mind and “make
the best of his life.” The director had to fight so his character
was not described as “passive” or “resigned”.
Zahrada, the director’s much awarded masterpiece from 1995, proves
Martin Suliks remarkable artistic talent to unite learned post-modern
play with cultural conditions and a poetically enchanting form of storytelling.
After the magical present-time story Orbis pictus (1997), which unfortunately
was mostly viewed as a counterpart to Zahrada (this time with a heroine),
Sulik made Krajinka
(2000): an epic saga about the fate of Slovakians in the last seventy
years. The word „krajinka“, which stands for an awareness
of one’s own smallness, oddness and vulnerability, soon became a
kind of technical term for numerous journalistic and political phenomena
Since 1994, Martin Sulik has been teaching at the VSMU in Bratislava.
Cinematically, he is indebted to the 60s, which can clearly be seen in
his quasi-documentary Klic
k urcovani trasliku, aneb Posledni cesta Lemuela Gullivera (2002),
which was very successful internationally. Currently Martin Sulik is in
pre-production on a documentary, for which he records interviews with
personalities from that phenomenal epoch of Czech and Slovakian cinema.
His most recent film Slunecni stat (“The Sun State”)
will premiere April 2005. It’s about a group of older miners, who
not only have to find a new profession, but are also in search of a new
way of life.
/ THE TENDERNESS
DIRECTOR: Martin Sulik, 104 MIN
Bambi: 08.04. / 2 p.m.
CO MÁM RÁD / EVERYTHING I LIKE
DIRECTOR: Martin Sulik, 96 MIN
Bambi: 08.04. / 8 p.m.
DIRECTOR: Martin Sulik, 5 MIN
Caligari: 09.04. / 3.30 p.m.
Double Feature with THE KEY FOR DETERMINING DWARFS, OR THE LAST TRAVEL
OF LEMUEL GULLIVER
KLIC K URCOVÁNI
TRASLÍKU, ANEB POSLEDNÍ CESTA LEMUELA GULLIVERA / THE KEY
FOR DETERMINING DWARFS, OR THE LAST TRAVEL OF LEMUEL GULLIVER
Czech Republic 2002
DIRECTOR: Martin Sulik, 58 MIN
Caligari: 09.04. / 3.30 p.m.
Double Feature with THE MIRACLE
/ THE GARDEN
Slovakia, France 1995
DIRECTOR: Martin Sulik, 95 MIN
Bambi: 09.04. / 6 p.m.
/ THE LANDSCAPE
CZECH REPUBLIC, SLOVAKIA 2000
DIRECTOR: Martin Sulik, 110 MIN
Bambi: 11.04. / 2 p.m.