Dusan 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 Martinek , 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 older 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of poverty punctuated with alcoholism, religion, and the hardships of the subjects lives, resulted in the film being withdrawn from release.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 polemical film. It attempts to address fundamental levels of human experience - its power and beauty lies in its tender studying of a people who seem to have been forgotten by their society.
Presented from a superb new HD restoration of the film
Dušan Hanák's acclaimed short films Old Shatterhand Came to Us (Prisiel k nám Old Shatterhand, 1966) and Mass (Omša, 1967)
16-page booklet featuring a new essay by author and academic Jonathan Owen