Martin Slivka – The Man Who Planted Trees

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U.S. PREMIERE

Director: MARTIN SULIK

Given Minnesota’s Central European ethnic stream, this film should catch the eye: old Slovak castles, scratchy violin tunes, country bands, farmers haying in mountain valleys, the words “I remember” … on an old tape recorder…then the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968.

All this was the world of Martin Slivka, as recalled by his friends and now-Canadian relatives, told by acclaimed Slovak Filmmaker Martin Sulík in this affectionate recollection of one of Europe’s major (almost now-forgotten ethnographers). Slivka as a young film student recorded rituals, dances, music in the sub- Carpatho Slovak foothills. Later he became the instructor to Prague’s FAMU film school (Milos Forman alma mater).

Unable to emigrate after ‘68, during Gustáv Husák Communist era, he left invaluable images of 19th and 20th century Central European folk life, now ended, recording an era of ethnographic documentary that could never any more be seen on Discovery Channel or IMAX. He was the opposite of the “romanticized” documentary of his “dance costume” contemporaries. His credo: “…not even a radish grows without love.” “Where are those who should have written the audiovisual history of the earth,” he asks in the film.

SLOVAKIA • 2007 • 90 MINUTES • DIRECTOR: MARTIN SULIK