Czech film festival visited by seven Romani children from Slovak settlements to promote "Silent Days"
The Slovak press agency TASR reported that seven children from excluded localities and Romani settlements throughout Slovakia were scheduled to walk the red carpet at the Czech Republic's Karlovy Vary Film Festival on 30 June. The children are hearing impaired, use sign language and live in communities that are excluded, such as the Romani settlements of Petrová, Spišské Bystré, Kecerovce and the Luník IX housing estate.
Sandra, Marián, Alena, René, Roman, Kristián and Karmen are all the main characters in the poetic film Hluché dny ("Silent Days"), which was slated to have its world premiere on 30 June at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival. "This feature-length debut by director Pavel Pekarčík will be the only Slovak film competing in the section called 'East of the West'. In the autumn it will be released in cinemas in Slovakia and the first trailer is being released now," Zuzana Kizáková, the PR manager of the Slovak-Czech co-production, told TASR.
"You will find children who are deaf and dumb in all of the Romani settlements. By submerging myself in the daily reality of my protagonists, I came to understand that they experience the reality around them with the aid of a state of reverie. It doesn't matter whether they are hearing or not, or whether they can vocalize," the director said.
The narrative film depicts little Marián, who wants to become a train driver even though he has never heard the hooting sound of the locomotives or the whistling of the rails. His role model is the actor Jean-Claude Van Damme and he loves to reenact scenes from the film "Bloodsport".
Sandra, a teenager, loves football and wants to meet Ronaldinho. The three siblings Karmen, Kristián and Roman dream of having a bathroom and a real living room, which they build for themselves on the local garbage dump.
The viewer also follows a couple who are expecting, the youngsters Alena and René, who hope their child will be born healthy. "It's important to observe these dreams, to penetrate them, to uncover them. We know less and less about the people who do not live in our own layer of society, or in our same neighborhood, or who do not make the same amount of money we do. We don't comprehend the causes of their behavior, their motivations, their worries. It was very interesting to gain insight into their lives, to learn that they have the same dreams, fears and joys that we all do," the director said.
"The film should bring people together, or at least aid people in coming together. That's why I attempted a portrait of an excluded group within an excluded group," the director said.
The world premiere of the film at the festival was meant to be attended by all of the child protagonists - Sandra Siváková, Marián Hlaváč, Alena and René Červeňák, Roman and Karmen Balog, and Kristián Gaži, as well as the director, producer and screenwriter Pavel Pekarčík, cinematographer Oto Vojtičko and sound designer Tomáš Vojtičko. The delegation was to be rounded out by the Romanes-language interpreter Jarmila Vanová, co-producer Kateřina Tomková and producer Eva Kočanová.
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