Slovak Cinema of the 1970s RevisitedPeter Hourigan May 2008 Feature Articles Issue 47 On 31 December 1992 in Bratislava just before midnight, the air was crisp and cold. It was probably about -6º. Nonetheless, thousands were streaming towards the main city square, where a stage had been erected at a point where several cobbled streets sweep into the open space. By midnight, it was impossible to move. The throng was pressing so tightly that it was impossible to raise your arms from your side. At midnight, the euphoria in the crowd erupted as the New Year, 1993, marked the emergence of Slovakia as an independent nation. So many fireworks were let off that the smoke drifted down to the crowd – and some skyrockets that didn’t launch properly looked dangerous as they skimmed not far over the heads of the crowd. The bitter cold meant, however, that the crowds didn’t linger very long – half an hour after midnight the square was visibly emptying as people returned to their warm houses and flats. At that moment, towards the end of the century, many of the people there felt a strong sense of their own nationality, recognised at last. At the end of World War I, Slovakia was joined with regions of Bohemia and Moravia to form Czechoslovakia. The next two decades saw more instability until the First Slovak Republic was declared in 1939, under pressure from Nazi Germany. This wartime régime is generally regarded as a puppet one, and after World War II Czechoslovakia was reconstituted. In 1948, there was a new puppet master, as the country came under the influence of the Soviet Union. In the 1960s, Czechoslovaks attempted to resist this domination. In 1968, a period of emerging political and cultural independence under Prime Minister Alexander Dubček came to an end when Warsaw Pact troops rolled into Prague that August. It was to be another two decades before a similar movement, this time popularly known as the Velvet Revolution, would see the end of Communist rule. Then, in 1992, it was obvious that the union of Czechoslovakia was dissolving. At the end of that year, the “Velvet Divorce” came into effect and Slovakia and the Czech Republic peacefully went their ways as separate nations again. Slovaks have always had a sense of their own identity. There were many aspects of the Czechoslovakian periods that rankled. They were sensitive to the fact that the rest of the world had very little concept of this identity. To the rest of the world, for example, they were simply Czechs. Their own identity was wiped from common usage. The Slovaks being a totally unknown nation was not simply […] so. It was the result of the state policy. Once, being in Paris, the ambassador came to welcome our group. He approached us with the words: “I suppose you are the Czech group.” It made me think to myself, “This is a man who represents myself. Moreover, I participate in paying him his salary!!!” There were hardly any Slovak in the embassies in the countries of some importance. They were mostly drivers or were in similar functions. They mostly spoke Czech not to be fired.  These irritations or tensions can be seen in attitudes towards the first film from this region to win an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, Ján Kadár’s and Elmar Klos’ Obchod na korze (The Shop on Main Street, 1965). Many Slovaks saw this as culturally a Slovakian film. Its themes are Slovakian; one of its two directors, Ján Kadár, is Slovakian; it was filmed in Slovakia; and its language is Slovakian. But, to the rest of the world, it was a Czech film. (And, yes, it did have Czech elements, including use of film studios in Prague and a Moravian-Czech co-director.) Slovakia was invisible. The early 1960s, in particular, were a rich time for Czechoslovak filmmaking. The movement, universally known as the Czech (sic) New Wave, produced directors such as Miloš Forman, Věra Chytilová and Jiří Menzel. Some of the films included Ostře sledované vlak (Closely Watched Trains, Menzel, 1967), Lásky jedné plavovlásky (Loves of a Blonde, 1965) and Hoří, má panenko (The Firemen’s Ball, 1967), both directed by Miloš Forman, and Sedmikrásky (Daisies, Věra Chytilová, 1966). But this bloom of creativity was crushed after the Warsaw Pact invasion in 1968. Directors such as Miloš Forman and Ivan Passer emigrated, to continue their careers largely in the US and Canada. Czech films overshadowed films from Slovakia during this period, taking into account the fact that for many the two regions were one. The reception for The Shop on Main Street is one example of this. Zert (The Joke, Jaromil Jireš, 1969) is another example of how in many ways the two regions were very much intertwined. The director Jireš was born in Bratislava, capital of Slovakia, but this film, adapted from a novel by Milan Kundera, takes on more of the general characteristics of the single country (it is a biting satire on aspects of life under a totalitarian régime) and is usually regarded as an example of Czech filmmaking. The somewhat patronising attitude towards Slovak cinema is reflected in official publications of the period. Writing in 1970, in a publication for the Czech Film Institute, Stanislav Zvoníček said, A highly important trait of our films is their international character, manifested especially in this country by the fraternal assistance Czechs have given to the formation of film culture in Slovakia. This help has shortened the apprentice years of Slovak films to a minimum – Czech film production helped train Slovak actors and supplied the necessary prerequisites for filmmaking, so that since the middle of the fifties we can boast of a truly Czechoslovak cinematography, fed from the sources of both nations.  Creative Slovak filmmaking was dominated, certainly at the end of this period, by Juraj Jakubisko. In 1968, he completed his second film, Zbehovia a pútnici (The Deserter and the Nomads). This is a fascinating surrealist (it draws comparisons with Federico Fellini, Miklos Jancso, Emir Kusturica) view of three different historical eras in the country. The film, almost inevitably, incurred the wrath of the country’s rulers with its critical views. Its local audience clearly understood many of the references that a non-Slovak audience would miss. For example, in the sequence at the end of the war, some foreign soldiers are seen wearing four or five wristwatches at once – for the Slovaks a reminder of the way the “liberating” Soviet soldiers had helped themselves when they arrived in the country. The film did have some screenings in the west (including at the London Film Festival in 1969), largely because it had been a Slovak-Italian co-production and the Italian co-producers did have copies. But it was practically the last time that Jakubisko would have that degree of freedom in his filmmaking and he did not get a chance to make another theatrical feature until the end of the 1970s. But, in this environment, filmmaking continued in Slovakia. More than 100 titles are listed as having been produced in Slovakia in the 1970s. (3) Some of these films have now been released on DVD through the Slovak Film Insitute. (4) This article explores a small sample of these titles. It cannot claim to be a thorough overview of filmmaking in Slovakia during the 1970s, but it can serve as an introduction. * * * The régimes of Eastern Europe were well known for the ultra sensitivity of the bureaucrats in charge of cultural matters. The filmmakers of Slovakia always faced the possibility of never getting approval for a project. Or, if a project was actually financed, the finished product might languish for years on a shelf because in some way it had offended officials. Obrazy Starého Sveta (Pictures of the Old World), made by Dušan Hanák in 1972, is hardly the kind of film that could be expected to incur the wrath of the authorities. Yet, after a few screenings, it was banned and withdrawn until 1988. It is a documentary inspired by the photography of Martin Martinček (born 1913) who had travelled into some of most remote areas of the Tatra Mountains area, in the north of the country, near the border with Poland. Martinček found some magnificent people living in conditions that seemed remote from the 20th Century, but people who had seen more of that century than many of us can imagine. His photographs have earned a special place in Slovak culture, a well-deserved place to judge from the photos used in Hanák’s film. Hanák visited the region seeking out many of the subjects of Martinček’s photographs. His film becomes both an extension and a celebration of Martinček’s work. The film is shot in beautiful black and white, and the original photographs are almost seamlessly integrated into the new material. As he says at the head of the film, “These are stories of people rooted in the soil they came from. They cannot be replanted, they would perish.” There are many beautiful, moving moments and images. A peasant couple don’t know what a microphone is or how to react to it. An old man has taken eggs to town and dropped them. The village has the most wonderful handcarved automaton toy that the camera delights in crawling over. A peasant had built a house for his wife and family but she threw him out of it on the day that Yuri Gagarin became the first man to go into space. Now, he just wants to talk about space flight with the interviewer. Here the intercutting of the stock footage of the first men on the moon with the so down-to-earth (and down-to-Earth) lives of the peasants has a special resonance. Their way of life may be simple, it may even be primitive, but they are people with such a rich experience of life. They may not be very articulate when they are asked to talk about Life (with a capital L) or death, but in their faces, their demeanour, their very breathing, they embody so much about living and being human. Hanák does not privilege the original photographs; nor does he have his own camera prowl over them restlessly in the way that many documentary filmmakers use in the mistaken idea that this will animate still photographs. Instead, his camera style integrates with the still photos to the extent that at times we don’t really recognise which it is we are watching. The dialogue on the soundtrack is limited to the words of these people. Sometimes they are speaking on camera; sometimes their voices are only on the soundtrack. But, when he only has their words and not their voices, he has these simply read, with no attempt at having an actor impersonate the real person. This aural integrity is augmented with interesting music choices, ranging from a solo voice with a folk song to elegant George Frideric Handel, its very sophistication coming as a perfect foil for these well-lived lives. This is such a beautiful, non-political, non-polemical film that its official banning is just so mysterious. What kind of threat did the authorities see in this film? Were they afraid that people might read this as saying that the Socialist State could not properly look after its old people? Hanák was able to make one other feature film in the 1970s, Ružové sny (Pink Dreams, 1976). Interestingly, this was the only Czechoslovak film of the 1970s to earn distribution abroad. (5) This is surely a reflection of the impact of the situation in the whole of Czechoslovakia after the Soviet invasion and increased repression after 1968. During the 1960s, many Czechoslovak (though mainly Czech) films had been distributed in the West, as discussed above. Now, several of its major filmmakers had fled abroad; those still at home were more constrained in what they could film. In ways, Pink Dreams seems a throwback to that brief golden era, with its bitter-sweet romance against a bucolic village setting. It is certainly an entertaining film, with an amiable charm. But this categorisation also does it a disservice. The romance is a variation on the Romeo and Juliet theme, with Jolanka (Iva Bittová) belonging to the Gypsies living outside the village community – both physically and metaphorically. Her people are just as aghast at her interest in Jakub (Juraj Nvota), a “white”, as Jakub’s people frown on his interest in a Gypsy. Hanák’s picture of the Romanies is quietly significant. This is one of a rare and small number of films to have significant and sympathetic roles for this sometimes problematic minority group. It is some years before Tony Gatlif began his series of gipsy themed films. The Gypsy community is vividly created, its various members, even in tiny cameos, emerging as vibrant personalities. But it also emerges as a real community, a group of people with their own traditions and values. This culture is always respectfully treated. And perhaps Jakub did really fall in love with Jolanka because she cut off some of her underarm hair and put it in his pocket! The ‘whites’ also have some interesting characters. In fact, the same respect and affection for the villagers comes across as Hanák expressed in Pictures of the Old World. But, though these people are fictional creations, they still have individuality and respect. At the same time, some of this individuality runs to an eccentricity that is not part of the approach in Pictures of the Old World. Here we have the old man who stages a sit-in strike in his bathtub hideaway up a fruit tree. And the farming couple trying to shoot the skunk that’s attacking their fowls. Or the woman who has the job of making the local and political announcements over the village’s public address system. Jakub is the delivery boy for this village. In his Post Office uniform, cap perched on his head he looks like the cousin of Milos Hrma (Václav Nekár) the train-dispatcher in Menzel’s 1967 Closely Watched Trains. He charms Jolanka with his tricks, pretending to swallow a knife, or finding a fluffy yellow chicken underneath his Post Office cap. He knows everyone in the village and they all like him. Yet, curiously, he seems to be the only person in the ‘white’ community under the age of about 40. This might be a problem in Hanák’s creation of the village. But it could also be a subtle political/social commentary on a rural life devoid of all its young people. The story does not follow the Hollywood path to a happy resolution. A section where the two lovers move to a larger town works to reflect the tensions between the two groups and the way that these ultimately impact on their relationship. In several places, Hanák relies on fantasy sequences. Some of these are more effective than others. But, overall, this is an amiable film, just as enjoyable on its own terms as it no doubt was at the time of its release. The Gypsy theme allows Hanák to use lively, engaging music on his soundtrack. In the central dance-hall sequence, the tensions between the ‘families’ of the two young lovers are counter pointed by the brass band’s jaunty dance music. * * * Keby som Mal Pušku (If I Had a Gun) was directed by Šrefan Uher in 1971. Uher (1930-1993) made a number of documentaries after his film school studies and before moving on to fiction filmmaking in 1960. His 1962 film, Slnko v sieti (The Sun in a Net), has been described as having a new narrative style […] based on a composition of small pieces of the story into a whole with an emphasis on visual expression. The film is often referred to as the pilot picture of the Czechoslovak New Wave.  In the 1970s, his artistic output is said to have fallen, almost certainly affected by the policies and restrictions of the period of “Communist Normalisation” that followed the Prague Spring and the Warsaw Pact Invasion of 1968. If I Had a Gun was very much made in this period of “Normalisation” and “consolidation of society”. Aspects of this pressure can certainly be sensed in the film, even though it is set during World War II. The story is set in a very small village, much of the time remote from the intense activity of the war. The events over one or two years are seen from the perspective of Vlado (Marián Bernát), a boy entering adolescence. For him, the war is not really important, though it is certainly a source of adventurous fantasies. He has some dreams of having a gun and killing Germans. But at the start, though, there are more important uses for a gun. “If I had a gun, Viktor would stop laughing and ducks would stop flying”, he says in the opening words of the film, while on an escapade in the mountains with his mate (Jozef Gráf). Gradually, perhaps inevitably, the war does come closer and closer. Uher stages these incidents of unavoidable intrusion effectively, capturing the different relationship of a boy to some major moments. One of these is when a Jewish village woman is rounded up by soldiers and taken away on a truck. But, for Vlado, the event is not much more meaningful than as a trigger to an heroic daydream. He could use his gun to save the woman from the Germans! And then he quickly passes on to other concerns. It is almost only when looking back at the film after it is over that the viewer realises the highly dramatic events that have taken place in the village, the number of lives that have been in danger and the impacts on people’s lives. At that stage of his life, the end of the war for Vlado simply meant that, “The school bell called us. We’d have enough of lazing around.” But the viewer also has absorbed that the experiences that Vlado has undergone have really been significant. This element of the film’s approach is very finely handled by Uher. The crisp black-and-white photography makes the snow glisten and seem more slippery and potentially treacherous. At times, however, I found the restless camera distracting, as it scanned over the scene trying to be sure it hadn’t missed something, drawing our attention often to unimportant items. But we can also sense external pressure on Uher’s treatment of certain aspects of the story. There would have been no major problems in presenting the Nazi soldiers negatively. Because they are often only on the fringes of Vlado’s day-to-day life, they are also more frequently seen in long-shot. There is a delightful moment when a German soldier lets the village butcher know that it is not really done to have a window display with both a pig’s head and Hitler’s bust together. But special care presumably had to be taken with the other soldiers who figure in the story. The war ended for Slovaks with the arrival of Soviet troops. At this point, the somewhat detached tone of the rest of the film is abandoned. Particularly in a village that does not seem to have had too many traumas the welcome for the Soviet liberators is maybe somewhat excessive. But presumably the authorities at the time the film was made would have approved of the laudatory acclaim of the Soviets. * * * Elo Havetta (1938-1975) is a director who represents another style of filmmaking from this region – that of an anarchic, perhaps mosaic approach to the traditional narrative line. Věra Chytilová’s Sedmikrasky (Daisies, 1966) may be a better-known example of this genre of filmmaking. Havetta only made two feature films and both are included in a single DVD set, which also includes a documentary about Havetta and his filmmaking (Slávnosť Osamelej Palmy (Celebration of a Lonely Palm), Juraj Johanides and Marko Škop, 2005). In this, one speaker describes Havetta’s approach as: It wasn’t build [sic] so much on a story, as it was on the possibility of a form to carry an emotion. So the fate of the character is almost non-dramatic, at al, and therefore you have no other option but to build on a principle of contrast, on the alternative of joy and discovering what is there behind that joy, what sort of sadness, unhappiness, bad luck. Filming had just begun on Slávnosť v Botanickej Záhrade (Celebration in the Botanical Garden or The Festival in the Botanical Garden) when Warsaw Pact troops invaded Prague on 21 August 1968, ending the period of liberalisation known as the Prague Spring, and signalling a period in Czechoslovakia euphemistically known as “normalisation”. The film does not appear to have suffered undue delays because of this, and was completed and released in 1969. It starts with a train arriving at a station – yes, the famous early film L’Arrivée d’un train en gare de La Ciotat (The Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat Station, Lumière Brothers, 1895). This is a sign that this will be a very knowing film in its use of images and that we should keep in mind that we are watching something manufactured. In case we forget, at the end of the film and in the middle of an exuberant Bacchanalian festival, we suddenly glimpse a television camera, and a voice-over reminds the cameraman to keep the final shot going until the characters are out of view. Havetta uses chapter headings, a help with an editing style that sends us all over the place with a sometimes anarchic glee. Many of the scenes have a sense of fun and good humour, and a delight in a world of summer. His second film, Ľalie Poľné (Wild Lilies (7)), was released in 1973. Again, he finds a device to remind us from the start that we are watching a film. In this case, scratched, degraded images of World War I are accompanied by the clatter of an ancient movie projector, before an explosion takes us into the credits. This is a war film, perhaps, but only in an indirect way. More accurately, it is an interesting take on one after-effect of war – what it’s like for soldiers to attempt to settle back into a normal life after the experiences of being in combat and under fire. Several of our main characters struggle, others have a new carefree approach to life – “Nothing can hurt us. We’re like the lilies of the field.” Again, Havetta’s approach eschews the usual strategies for establishing or developing characters. Much of the film is in monochrome, as though recreating the tinting of the silent era. The dominant colour used for this is a copper-green, verdigris-like tone. But, when he wants it, his screen flares into brilliant colour, such as the vivid, almost fluorescent burst of reds and yellows at the moment of the comment on the lilies of the field. In this world, there is room for miracles – a slip on a tightrope can be instantly retrieved. Or, if you want the sun to rise now, it will, flooding the screen with its brightness and colour. Both features are distinct and distinctive. Havetta was clearly a filmmaker with his own unique style. At the same time, this style also limits the impact of the films. Narrative structure is not important to him and there is a sense that to respond fully an audience needs a background in Slovak culture. The DVD set of Havetta’s two features also includes two early shorts revealing his early adoption of structures, such as the use of chapter headings, attention to the look of his images – and a sensitive use of music. Havetta sadly died young. In the documentary on his work, another major Slovak director, Juraj Jakubisko, a close friend of Havetta, suggests that, although his death was a result of bleeding ulcers, it may have been suicide, with Havetta conscious of what would be the outcome of a heavy bout of drinking. * * * Juraj Jakubisko (born 1938) was on the verge of an international reputation at the time of the Prague Spring. He had completed three feature films: Kristove roky (Crucial Years aka Christ’s Years, 1967), Zbehovia a pútnici (The Deserters and the Nomads, aka Deserters and Pilgrims, 1968) and Vtáčkovia, siroty a blázni (Birds, Orphans and Fools, 1969). A student film had been based on Becket: Cekají na Godota (1965). At the time, these films were getting invitations to international film festivals and the Czechoslovak authorities were, even if grudgingly, allowing them to be shown. The Deserters and the Nomads was screened, for example, at the London Film Festival in November 1969, interestingly in a more complete form than was being allowed for screening in Czechoslovakia at that time. The Deserter and the Nomads is a stylistically adventurous film, blending three different stories of war – past, present and future. The impressive, powerful use of colour, the thoughtful use of music and the strength of a cinematic imagination marked Jakubisko as a cinematic talent to watch. Local audiences – when they were able to see the film – were also able to “decode” many of Jakubisko’s images in their own ways. For example, there is the scene mentioned above, with soldiers of no particular nationality, each with a number of watches on his arm. For locals, this reminded them of the way the “glorious liberating Russian soldiers” had helped themselves when they came into the country at the end of World War II. Jakubisko’s dig at their dominating neighbour was very much understood. However, perhaps these subversive images were too much for the authorities, for Jakubisko’s career fell foul of the period of “normalisation” that followed the Warsaw Pact invasion. His next two films were banned. They were Dovidenia v pekle priatelia (See You in Hell, Friends, 1970, released in 1990) and Vtáčkovia, siroty a blázni. For most of the 1970s, he was restricted to making documentaries for television before he was able to make his next feature film in 1979. This was Postav Dom, Zasaď Strom (Build a House, Plant a Tree). The bureaucratic demands certainly result in Jakubisko having to pull some of his punches, but enough of his individuality remained to cause sycophantic state critics of the time to be offended or to notice its conformist elements. These extracts are from contemporary reviews, and are included in the bonus material with the Slovak Film Institute DVD release of this film. The story takes place in the present and its lead motives are a condemnation of antisocial elements and a positive encouragement to the common responsibility for the protection of elementary moral norms.  The creative process of the making of this film seems to have been intruded upon by the efforts related more to the inventiveness of an advertising agent rather than those of a socialist and realist film-maker and this is at the expense of truthfulness. The main hero is portrayed through a subjective lens, in a formalist way far from the process of forming a new socialist way of life. The film includes lots of shots but little art. The film is trying to avoid our needs and the legacy of socialist art and so it turns out as formally self-centred. The picture does not relate to the true life of the people […] it lacks vitality or any permanent value.  How debilitating it must have been for a filmmaker of strong ideas to be faced with criticism like that. The film takes its title from a saying used by Jozef (Pavel Nový), the main character, “Plant a tree, conceive a son, build a house.” Something of a drifter, he’s taken a lift that has dropped him in a small, remote village in the mountains. It is almost as though it’s at the end of the world – there have been no deliveries of essential supplies like beer for a number of days at least before he arrives. When he rescues a little girl stranded down a deep gorge, he is instantly accepted into the community of the village. He marks this acceptance by setting out to establish a relationship and build a house. Of course, he does not go about building his house in the obviously correct, socialist way. Rather, he chooses an attractive spot in the bend of a river and gets most of the materials he needs by ‘liberating’ them or ‘rescuing them’ from situations where they may have been neglected? Forgotten? Misused? This individuality and entrepreneurial spirit is probably one of the aspects of the film that incurred some of the official wrath at the time. It is also an aspect of his character that makes Jozef an engaging main protagonist, and in the role, Pavel Nový brings a charisma that works strongly to have an audience enjoy his cavalier approach to state property. However, at the end, the film does have to punish him for this strong aspect of his character. This taming of the film’s subject matter is also somewhat replicated in the film’s surface, which is more conventional than The Deserter and the Nomads. But there are still marvellous moments, small coups de cinéma. A transition is effected through a shot of an almost-too-beautiful scene with a girl playing the piano in a field near a wild waterfall, with the pull-back being completed as the colours drain out to the monochrome blue of a flickering television image. The gradually evolving house, untidy, out of proportion, yet promising to be a home is a strong metaphor of aspects of Jozef’s determination. And it develops into a powerful image at the end, a strange object both part of its landscape and out of place there, no longer a place to start a family, but just a landmark for a flock of sheep. The landscape itself is another element that Jakubisko uses strongly. In contrast to other films set in villages, here the terrain is mountainous, rocky. The village was probably established so that copper could be mined, but that mine is now worked out. The rugged, romantic mountainscape is dotted with ugly vestiges of industrial exploitation, a landscape open to being read as a metaphor for a socialist society that was not living up to its original promise or ambition. No wonder the film was attacked by representatives of this system at the time. Jakubisko has a strong sense of how music can be used cinematically. A piano is an object that has a strong relevance to the events of the film, and Jakubisko uses the sounds of a cheap, somewhat tinny piano at points as a punctuation device between scenes. At other times, Gypsy music (some of it cued from a gipsy wedding at one point of the film) adds a potent resonance. His composer, Petr Hapka (b. 1944), also provides orchestrations that resemble some of the better scores of Ennio Morricone, without being pastiche. Overall, Build a House, Plant a Tree is a very engaging film. Coupled with memories of The Deserter and the Nomads, it does give cause to regret that Jakubisko has not had the chance to work regularly or that his films are not better known outside Slovakia. * * * The discs reviewed in this article were supplied by courtesy of the Slovak Film Institute. Much of the site can be navigated in English and details about DVDs can be found on “Info & Offer”. All discs reviewed are English friendly, with optional English menus and sub-titles including on all bonus items. The DVDs by Dušan Hanák and Elo Havetta also include early student films as extras (sub-titled in English). Endnotes B. Benedikovič, mail to the author, 13 February 2008. Stanislav Zvoníček, 25 Years of Czechoslovak Socialist Cinematography and its Prospects (Prague: Czech Film Institute, 1970), p. 38. http://www.sfd.sfu.sk This data base, searchable in English, lists 102 film for the period 1970-1980. Running times are not given, so it is not immediately clear how many are features. Some are also obviously television productions. http://www.sfu.sk/english/article.php?article_id=39&category_id=10&parent_id=2. This is claimed on the Bonus Information on the SME & SFI DVD release of the film. From Bonus Information, Biographies on the SME & SFI / Slovak Cinema of the 70s DVD of If I Had a Gun. The DVD packaging gives the title as Wild Lilies, but the sub-title on the film itself gives the title as The Field Lilies. However, in the film there is a reference to the passage in the Bible that refers to the Lilies of the Field, which suggests that this is the appropriate rendering of the title in English. Z. T., “Films of the Week”, L’Ud, 26 November 1979. Peter Bál, “Our Cinema in the World”, Pravda, 13 May 1980.