The Antichrist is reborn in Slovak period drama Piargy
- The black-and-white “crime and punishment” drama directed by Ivo Trajkov is currently in post-production
Folk horror is really gaining a foothold in Slovak cinema. While several projects are in development (see the news about Mother of the Night and the news about Leshy), one project is already nearing the finishing line. The black-and-white period drama Piargy, directed by Macedonian-born, Prague-based director Ivo Trajkov, is currently in post-production, with the bulk of the work being done on its visuals, while eyeing February 2021 for release. Based on a 1942 short story by Slovakian writer František Švantner, a leading figure in a particular strand of modernist literature – naturism – the €1.6 million drama follows a mystical story about the rebirth of the Antichrist and doubles as a metaphorical allusion to the biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah.
The allegorical tale of “uncertain crime and cruel punishment” follows young protagonist Juliša from the village of Piargy after she marries the son of a wealthy landowner. She soon falls victim to the lust of her father-in-law. The story is narrated in retrospect as a bishop sends a priest to investigate the village, which has been buried by an avalanche. The bishop wants to know what happened in the highland hamlet, and whether the Antichrist truly returned or whether it is just the imagination of a shocked survivor who says the catastrophe is God’s punishment for the villagers’ sins.
“Lyrical prose has inspired Slovak filmmakers for a long time; we have gems in the television archive that find their audience again and again in terms of subject, message and form. This time, we will offer the audience a film inspired by a short story, Piargy, and in fact, by the whole body of work of František Švanter, who fascinates by interweaving myth, secrets and balladic moments, and dramatically confronts a man with himself. The discovery of a man’s natural impulses in order to expose his egoism, self-love and cowardice also served as inspiration to the filmmakers,” says Magdaléna Glasnerová, script consultant at Radio and Television Slovakia, who is co-producing the film.
Ivo Trajkov co-wrote the script with Czech screenwriter Jana Skořepová, who co-penned Zuzana Liová’s feature debut, The House [+see also:
interview: Zuzana Liová
film profile]. “The structure is a classic three-act drama with a love triangle, framed by a prologue and an epilogue, which explore the mystery of the birth of the Antichrist and God's punishment. The period backdrop is a harbinger of World War II, which can be regarded as a parallel to the present,” reveals Trajkov in the director’s notes. Peter Bencsik, who has lensed films by Slovak directors Marta Ferencová and Mariana Čengel-Solčanská, is attached as the director of photography. Piargy has been in production since 2016, shot on location predominantly in Slovakia over 45 shooting days, and principal photography wrapped in March. Silvia Panáková, the movie’s producer from ARINA, confirmed to Cineuropa that the film should be finished by the end of 2020.
Piargy is being produced by Slovakian outfit ARINA, and co-produced by Czech company i/o post, Macedonia’s Story Scope and Radio and Television Slovakia. The Slovak Audiovisual Fund, Czech Film Fund and Ministry of Culture of the Slovak Republic supported the film. Reel Suspects is handling the international sales. The premiere is preliminarily set for February 2021.
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