Du an Hanák's renowned film (voted the best Slovak film of all time by critics in 2000) is a poetic visual essay on the forgotten peoples of remote villages in the Tatra Mountains. Inspired by the photographs of Slovak artist Martin Martin ek (1913 2004), whose pictures distilled entire lifetimes into luminous, intransient images, Hanák creates his own distinctive impressions of the artist s work, crafting a polyphony of human stories. The film documents the lives of nine old people the textures of faces, of hands, and of landscape predominate alongside an obstinate vitality and desire for life.
At odds with the Communist propaganda of the time, its depiction of poverty punctuated with alcoholism, religion, and the hardships of the subjects lives, resulted in the film being withdrawn from release. Condemned for its aesthetics of ugliness , the film remained banned for many years. However, Hanák's film is not a political, polemical or even social film. It goes far deeper to more fundamental levels of human experience - its power and beauty lies in its unique portrait of a people who seem to have been forgotten by the modern world.
Released for the first time ever in the UK, the DVD is presented from a new HD digital transfer with restored picture and sound - plus new HD restorations of two of Du an Hanák's acclaimed short films Mass (Om a, 1967) and Old Shatterhand Came to Us (Pri iel k nám Old Shatterhand, 1966).