Presburg Mirror

January 20th, 2015 § 0

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!

Tigre v Meste (Tigers in the City) Film Review

April 1st, 2013 § 0

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
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 Diana Morova
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 »

Lóve by Jakub Kroner: Review

March 30th, 2013 § 0

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
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 »

Girl Sleeping, Night Train

August 8th, 2012 § 3

Girl Sleeping Night Train
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 »

Sarka Ondrisova’s Voda na Vode in SND

June 11th, 2012 § 0

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 »

Balet Bratislava: Czech In

March 18th, 2012 § 2

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 »

Balet Bratislava: Romeo and Juliet photos

November 28th, 2011 § 0

I went to the second premiere of Romeo and Juliet on the 12 November also. If anything I like the ballet much better the second time.

Perhaps I was just inured to the slightly disappointing loudspeakers of Nova Scena and the strange jumps in the lights didn’t bother me so much.

It probably also has to do with a greater chemistry between Romeo (Arthur Abrams) and Juliet (Natalya Némethová). It’s not to say that Némethová outdanced the always stunning Katarina Kosikova. But she did dance Juliet with as much passion.

See for yourself:

dance of the Patriarchs
dance of the Patriarchs
Tybalt Juliet mother
Paris Juliet mother
mercutio dance
mercutio dance
mercutio surrounded by capulets
mercutio surrounded by capulets
Mercutio vs Tybalt
Mercutio vs Tybalt
mercutio dies by romeo
mercutio dies by romeo
dead mercutio
dead mercutio
paris attacks romeo
paris attacks romeo
duo romeo juliet
duo romeo juliet
lift romeo juliet
lift romeo juliet
Juliet Lady Capulet
Juliet Lady Capulet
juliet ordered to marry paris
juliet ordered to marry paris
romeo juliet second duet 2
romeo juliet second duet 2
romeo juliet second duet
romeo juliet second duet
arthur abrams natalya
arthur abrams natalya
Romeo finds Juliet in comaRomeo finds Juliet in coma
Lady Capulet grieves Juliet
Lady Capulet grieves Juliet
Mario Radacovsky curtain call
Mario Radacovsky curtain call

Balet Bratislava: Romeo and Juliet

November 12th, 2011 § 0

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 dance of patricians 1

Balet Bratislava: Romeo and Juliet Continues »