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23rd Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

ji-hlava dok cdf

A Song about Carpathian Ruthenia

director: Jiří Weiss
original title: Píseň o Podkarpatské Rusi
country: Czechoslovakia
year: 1937
running time: 11 min.

synopsis

There is no end to the mountains, the mists, the ancestral forests, where the wood perishes, where shadow has the scent of death... Vladimír Šmeral's haunting commentary accompanies the cinematography of Václav Hanuš – showing deep, impenetrable mists. In both words and images, Carpathian Ruthenia is lyrical and wild, a country of myth and poetry. These epithets define both the natural setting and the cinematography, featuring a dynamic subjective camera scene of woodmen on a raft, while the Sabbath celebrations of local Jews have an almost oriental feel. This poetic travelogue by Jiří Weiss is a late blossom of the avant-garde, with the shadow of the new war already looming.

other films in the section

In Carpathian Ruthenia
A tourist guide to the easternmost region of Czechoslovakia, the film presents a catalogue of its beauty as well as its pitfalls. The tourist will get a glimpse of its peculiar, colourful folk costumes, cities of the east, not very rewarding in terms of tourist landmarks, churches whose architecture combines styles of both the East and the West, as well as the Polish-Czechoslovak border, “a border which is no bar to the friendship of both Slav countries.” This cinematic Lonely Planet is the best guide to your holiday in Carpathian Ruthenia for 1932!
personal program

In Carpathian Ruthenia

Czechoslovakia / 1932 / 12 min.
section: Czechoslovak Orient
Spring in Carpathian Ruthenia
An ethnographic study of Easter celebrations offers a poetic cameo of rural architecture and springtime customs in the mountains. Karol Plicka's film highlights ancient Slavic folk costumes as a Carpathian village bursts to life in a three-day joyful festivity. Children's carefree games are intercut with the solemn rites of Easter, ancient wooden churches and herds of sheep according to the laws of montage by Alexander Hackenschmied. Some sequences of this film which literally sings are also featured in Plicka's masterpiece The Earth Sings (Zem spieva). This silent film is so evocative one can hear the sound of the sheepherder's overtone flute – the fujara.
personal program

Spring in Carpathian Ruthenia

Karel Plicka
Czechoslovakia / 1929 / 10 min.
section: Czechoslovak Orient
Pictures from Carpathian Ruthenia
Ravaged by the Great War, rural and deeply religious, intersected by roads and bridges – these are the glimpses we get of Carpathian Ruthenia in 1924. Even in black-and-white the film accentuates the beauty of the folk costumes during the festivity of the consecration of church bells in the village of Nevickoe, as well as the uniforms of the Czechoslovak border guards on duty along a border lined by wartime graves. Just as trenches are followed by wooden churches and magnificent monasteries, so the turmoil of war is followed by daily oatmeal bread.
personal program

Pictures from Carpathian Ruthenia

Czechoslovakia / 1924 / 13 min.
section: Czechoslovak Orient
Carpathian Ruthenia
A comprehensive guide to Carpathian Ruthenia on film, made by Jaroslav Novotný in 1930. The region's geography and famous moments of history are followed by a recourse into ethnography culminating in an endorsement of Czechoslovak statehood and its achievements in modernizing the country's easternmost rural region. Czechoslovakia has built schools and colleges here, and “trained stallions even learned to dance the quadrille.” This educational film highlights Carpathian Ruthenia's beauty and potential for development after years of Hungarian oppression.
personal program

Carpathian Ruthenia

Jaroslav Novotný
Czechoslovakia / 1930 / 44 min.
section: Czechoslovak Orient
Carpathian Ruthenia
In 1937, Carpathian Ruthenia is still as we want to know it. “Karpathorussland,” announces the German screen title of the Czechoslovak film, “is a unique, romantic country, forming a bridge between the culture of the West and of the East.” A bridge, where Mukachevo's modern spirit exists side by side with men lugging wood, the processing of flax, cowherds dancing to the rhythms of folk music. Footage of Polish and Romanian border guards, however, is a premonition that bridges can be trod with army boots, and that the rhythm of local life would soon be dictated by gunfire.  
personal program

Carpathian Ruthenia

Adolf Lehner
1937 / 11 min.
section: Czechoslovak Orient
Uzhgorod and its Surroundings
A documentary guide to Uzhgorod, the film offers a young country's view of its easternmost region. Celebrations of the independence of Czechoslovakia, an army parade, a mass, or the district office and lyceum buildings are an eloquent personification of Carpathian Ruthenia’s incorporation within Czechoslovakia (not only on film). The solemn march of troops is followed by an ethnographical display, featuring a folk festivity, woodcutters, a gypsy belle, laughing children and a gypsy fiddler. The final sequence showing graves represents a memento of the of the Great War, a mere four years in the past.
personal program

Uzhgorod and its Surroundings

Czech Republic / 1922 / 16 min.
section: Czechoslovak Orient
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Evropská unie
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Česká televize
Český rozhlas
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