January 20th, 2015 §
So this is how Hans felt
before the war. Hitler’s voice drones
on the radio. A toothbrush in his hands,
his eyes in the mirror. Surely,
he thought, it won’t come to this.
Level heads will prevail. Not twenty years
ago the cannons went silent.
But this time my bleary eyes admit,
it’s been seventy years. Three generations
lived and died with just whispers
in the jungles or Balkan piano clatter.
An inconsequential hundred thousand
Arab children may have starved.
Nothing real, nothing like this. Slow heartbeat,
the distant boom of the end, absolute.
Hans’ wife pooh-poohed the menace then
as mine now. Take Gretta with you my love
while you’re out with the dog. Fresh air
will do you all good. She smiles, urgently
rubbing cream into her forehead. A furrow
across her brow, dismisses any other care.
Real men do not fret about
what they cannot change. Children
to be taken to school, cannons to load.
Duties to be discharged equally.
Centuries alter not man’s destiny, woman’s
insouciance. Accept the force. Indispensable
nation. Sieg Heil!
April 1st, 2013 §
Tigers in the City is ostensibly an urban love story mixed with an international crime thriller. As strange as that mix sounds, the actual film is even stranger.
TIgre v Meste cast
The main story follows a hotshot young prosecutor in Bratislava, Rudolf Jazvec. This gentleman at the age of thirty has not lost his virginity, much to the amusement of his randy bon vivant zoo keeper friend Hyena who has been boffing Rudolf’s oversexed younger sister and fitness instructor Jane for the last five years. Rudolf is in love with a radio host on Bratislava’s culture channel, Marina Kuznikova.
Kristina Tothova and Diana Morova in an intimate moment,
no it’s not a lesbian love story: Tóthová plays a man
Unknown to anyone except the viewer, Marina’s Russian husband Ivan (the boxing instructor of Jane) has been brought in by Marina’s mafioso brother to eliminate a troublesome state prosecutor. Rudolf.
Tigre v Meste (Tigers in the City) Film Review Continues »
March 30th, 2013 §
Lóve is a deeply sinister film. There aren’t many films made these days in Bratislava or Slovakia that make it to theatres. More particularly there are even fewer films for young Slovaks to see themselves in. I’ve just survived the brutal skinhead-centric feature My Dog Killer (opening film of Febiofest) and had higher hopes for the very glamorously and heavily marketed Lóve.
Love poster Jakub Kroner
Here we have three typical student girls living in the main dormitories at Mlynskina Dolina. They sneak boys in and out of their rooms and dream of having punky guys turn up with pear spirits in their underpants. After drinking the bottle straight, some of them have sex with the said punky guys. The next week Sandra cries that Tomas doesn’t call her anymore. So far so good. The same maudlin story which French étudiantes might live through, albeit with better rooms and better liquor.
Lóve by Jakub Kroner: Review Continues »
August 8th, 2012 §
Girl Sleeping Night Train
The colours of the bottle, the shoes and the skirt fascinated me here. The ordinary becomes extraordinary: normally these trains are banal commuter ferries.
Download 2000 pixel version.
Girl Sleeping, Night Train Continues »
June 11th, 2012 §
Voda na voda starts with a woman lying in a chalk body circle, surrounded by suitcases and clothes scattered across the stage.
The ruins of life.
The beginning is the end, like a film. How did she arrive here?
As we all do by living life.
Voda na voda is a series of associative tableaux, focused alternatively on travel or on the relationships between men and women.
Men don’t do very well here. We’re either brutes, or dependent winos. Easily seduced, easily duped. Better controlled on a short leash than loved.
It’s a dark look into the heart but not an unmerited one. Most women do feel hard done by.
Along the way we are treated to elaborate work with bathtubs, high heels, climbing gear, skipping ropes, suitcases, suspended rope.
Sarka Ondrisova's Voda na Vode in SND Continues »
March 18th, 2012 §
A prolific season for Balet Bratislava: tonight saw the third full evening of new choreography from Mario Radacovsky’s young company.
The opening piece Slovanské Dvojspevy (Slavonic Duets: Czech choreographer Libor Vaculik) tells a playful tale of Slovak courtship. The long white skirts and the white shirts of the men gave the stage the lightness of spring and early summer. The music is much heavier though Antonin Dvorak’s Slovak Dances opus 46 and 72 and one of the Moravian dances too). Sadly the sound system in Novaj Tsena is simply not adequate for classical music: played too loud Dvorak descends into cacophony.
While on the subject of the theatre the stage seems too small as well for this piece. With ten dancers forming two groups at the same time, you did not have the feeling of observing Slovak courtship rituals in fields or the countryside but rather a kind of back urban alleys version. Basically, too much furniture in a room. Whether Slavonic Duets would be any better on a larger stage is an open question: I believe a catastrophic Ivan the Terrible I once saw in the SND was also the creation of Libor Vaculik.
The performances were evenly adequate with one exception: Klaudia Bitterová stood out for her radiance, her poise and the lyricality of her movements. There was no Katarina Kosiková to share the stage with and Bitterová took full advantage of her opportunity to shine. Andrej Szabo as the lead among the men presented himself an ideal partner to Bitterová.
Balet Bratislava: Czech In Continues »
November 28th, 2011 §
November 12th, 2011 §
Balet Bratislava’s premiere of Romeo and Juliet yesterday in Bratislava started the company’s performances off very well. A delighted public. Here are some photos to whet your appetite. Review to follow tomorrow.
Balet Bratislava dance of patricians 1
Balet Bratislava: Romeo and Juliet Continues »
October 11th, 2011 §
Bratislava Castle in Fog
Little did I know just 18 hours later, the Euro was to fall under its watchful walls. Despite, Bratislava’s castle’s air of history, the castle was in ruins for over a hundred years in Pressburg before the Slovaks rebuilt it in Bratislava.
I’m still astonished that Radicova foolishly linked her government AGAIN (this is about time number five) to a vote in Parliament. While she has been a very good prime minister, this death wish in the form of votes of confidence is an absurd game of Russian roulette.
Well now we’ll have an election. Hopefully the bailout package will still not pass. This EU becomes troublesome: a plaything of the international banks, like Congress in the United States. The majority of the European population is against these unlimited bailouts.
October 8th, 2011 §
After a long evening of work, Peter, Miska and I decided to take a drink in the rock bar next door. This is what we found.
Slovak beer Continues »