Pictures of the Old World / OBRAZY STAREHO SVETA
Dir: Dusan Hanák / Czechoslovakia /1972 / B&W / 70 mins / Slovak-Czhek
Direction Dusan Hanak Inspired by the photographs of Martin Martincek, who had recorded the landscape and people of the Liptov region, the film documents the lives of nine old people, five of whom had also featured in Martincek’s photographs. Among them are: a man who uses himself as a draught animal to pull his plough, a man crippled from the knees down, who nonetheless looks after his sheep, chops wood, and has built a house, a man who served in the Austro-Hungarian army and now digs potatoes, and one who plays bagpipes to his sheep. In several montage sequences, they respond to simple questions about the meaning and value of life. Condemned by a rigid bureaucracy for its “aesthetics of ugliness”, Hanák’s sensitive and vigilant handling of his subject resulted in one of the great works of documentary cinema. Voted, the best Slovak film of all time, this is Hanak’s second full length film.