A new film by director Petr Kerekes, awarded at the prestigious festival in Venice, Cenzorka has been entering Slovak cinemas since October 14, 2021. It will be presented to the audience together with the pre-film – a short animated documentary It Was Once More … directed by Joanna Kozuch. Both films are brought to Slovak distribution by the company Filmtopia.
Director Peter Kerekes and screenwriter and producer Ivan Ostrochovský spent six years visiting and filming in a women’s prison. The filmmakers went through 12 prisons in Ukraine, the last being the Women’s Correctional Institution in Odessa, accompanied by Irina Kirjazeva. It was she who became the forerunner of one of the main characters of the film and plays herself in the film.
“We saw her communicate with convicts, how she told us stories from prison, she also introduced us to the part where mothers with children were placed, and we knew we had a character around whom a story could be built.” Peter Kerekes described the genesis of his first feature film.
Irina works as a manager in a women’s prison, which also houses mothers with children. She is a warden, confessor, friend, but also an official who carries out sentences. She lives alone in a service apartment in the prison complex, eats a refrigerator at night and censors the love letters her prisoners receive. That’s her job too.
On the other side of this microcosm are mothers – convicts with children in prison. Their lives are literally shattered, they have a variety of destinies and an uncertain future, and the only thing that keeps them afloat is their relationships and children, a few hours of happiness every day.
VIDEO: Trailer for the film Censor, which won an international award at a prestigious festival in Venice
Of the many stories of women in Colony 74, the creators were inspired by the story of Lesja, who killed her husband out of jealousy and came to prison already pregnant. Her birth begins with a film. Almost all of the protagonists in the film play themselves, but the film is not a documentary.
“We spent several years visiting real prisons and talking and filming with real prisoners. We tried to get as close to them as possible, we shot not only them, but also with them, ” explains. “I wanted the film to become a collective authentic confession of convicted mothers, not only through their conversations with Irina, but also the situations we capture without words in the film – through moments of loneliness when their children are taken away and they finish their birthday cake thoughtlessly, or short flashes of happy moments when they forget they are in prison, ” adds.
Cenzorka will head to Slovak cinemas with the film Once Upon a Time … A short animated documentary talks about the consequences of human decisions and actions in the Aral Sea.
Svetlana looks into the salt desert with her only eye. Gulshat manages an empty hotel. The captain records the traces of the sea leaving, and Sergei carries tourists on his empty, limp day. These are the last people from Muynak who remember the original shore of the drying Aral Sea. Their days are intertwined with memories of the glorious past of the fishing power and dreams of the return of the great waters. The present is a cemetery of ships that never leave the port.
VIDEO: Movie Trailer Once Upon a Time
“The idea of making a film came to me during one of my train journeys through Central Asia. On September 26, 2008, I stood on the shore with the captain, watching the dead desert and the wrecks of huge fishing boats. As a passionate traveler and nature lover, I knew that one day I had to make a film about this place, ” recalls Joanna Kozuch. “Our film is about the departure of the sea, which has been a part of everyday life for the people of Muynak for centuries, it is a film about the tragedy of the people of Muynak, where I discovered one of the greatest environmental disasters of this century. I perceive it on two levels: as a stylized author’s statement about the tragedy of individuals against the background of political decisions against which they were powerless, and at the same time as a way to actively contribute to the social debate about the dangers of artificial man-made nature and the importance of environmental measures. explains Joanna Kozuch.
The realization and distribution of the films Cenzorka and Bolo once One More … was financially supported by the Audiovisual Fund.