Velvet Terrorists: Playful and insightful
by Vladan Petkovic
- New documentary-fiction film by Pavol Pekarčík, Ivan Ostrochovský and Peter Kerekes speaks about political and social changes in the words and actions of three engaging protagonists
Velvet Terrorists [+see also:
film profile], the new Slovak-Czech-Croatian documentary co-production, premiered in Karlovy Vary’s Documentary Competition. The film was directed and produced by three Slovak film-makers, Pavol Pekarčík, Ivan Ostrochovský and Peter Kerekes, who tell three stories about three men in the film divided into three parts. However, the fact that all three worked on all the stories together explains the consistency and wholeness of this engaging and insightful mix of fiction and documentary.
The three men in question have one thing in common: they spent time in prison accused of terrorism during the communist rule in Czechoslovakia.
The first story introduces us to Stano, who wanted to blow up a VIP stand the night before the celebration of May Day, but was caught setting the explosives and sentenced to five years. In the second story, we meet Fero, who spent 14 years in prison for an attempt to assassinate president Gustáv Husák, but his calls to the CIA were not taken seriously and the police found weapons in his apartment. The most serious terrorist is left for last: Vladimir was arrested four times for blowing up the Communist Party’s bulletin boards.
The film-makers use a refreshing approach to their characters to tell their stories. Instead of interviewing the protagonists, they film them as they talk to other people about their past, and show them the practicalities of terrorism. For this purpose, the film-makers are recreating the events in real time, with the help of pyrotechnics, props and vehicles.
While it may seem light at first glance, due to its humoristic approach and emphatic use of music, careful framing and playful editing, Velvet Terrorists actually covers much subject matter, including the communist past, its consequent quasi-capitalist present and even romance.
Velvet Terrorists was co-produced by Slovakia’s Peter Kerekes s.r.o., Sentimentalfilm and Partizanfilm, Czech Hypermatket Film and Croatia’s Nukleus film, with participation of Czech Television and Radio and Television Slovakia.
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