Centuries alter not man’s destiny, woman’s insouciance. Indispensable nations. Sieg Heil!
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.
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.
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.
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.
The colours of the bottle, the shoes and the skirt fascinated me here. The ordinary becomes extraordinary: normally these trains are banal commuter ferries.
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.
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.
It’s not to say that Némethová outdanced the always stunning Katarina Kosikova. But she did dance Juliet with as much passion.