When the problems began in Slovakia during the 1990s, we moved to Prague
It was during the Meciar era of nationalism and privatization. Even though we are Slovaks, we acknowledged that we were also born in Czechoslovakia.
A man is drawn to where he can find work
At the time, the Slovak movie studios Koliba was terminated. Although I recognized that it was a shame to leave my roots behind, I also realized –
I wasn’t abandoning my roots, I was bringing them with me in a flower pot
Just because you move to another country, everything that is Slovak about you doesn’t just disappear and, why would it?
This is why almost all of my films are essentially Slovak stories
They are about Slovak films, filmed on Slovak land and brought to life with Slovak actors. It was always an honour for me to represent Slovakia.
During the Prague Spring I had the opportunity to meet Federico Fellini
We developed a close relationship. It was his wife that played the iconic Lady Winter in Perinbaba. But, after the Soviet invasion, things took a turn for the worst.
I was thrown out of the studios after 1968
The cadre didn’t like that I was nominated for so many foreign awards. But, they soon learned that getting rid of me was bad press, the foreign journalists just kept on calling. So, they decided to let me stay, but downgraded me to short-films.
Back then, all documentaries were just commer- cials for the regime
This was only supposed to last for 1-year, but it ended up being nine. Back then, when someone had hope or aspiration, they were politically dangerous.
There is a saying – talent will never be forgiven
This was especially true during the normalization period. It was never the communists at the top that caused the most damage, it was the everyday people you interacted with. It was all done under the banner of ideology.
They said – I had to be like them
I survived by relying on my fantasy and humour. My imagination developed in my childhood. I was born in a mountain village where no roads led to.
You can’t teach someone how to dream
In the artistic community, movies that are popular are viewed with suspicion. Whereas films that are seen by a handful, are labelled as artistic. It’s the way incompetent people validate themselves.
Home is where your bed is, symbolically speaking it is the soil you were born onto
Of course, not everyone can return home. Money is one reason, pride is another. Other times, it’s about better opportunities and technology.
The world is changing and so are people
The craze for money is fading and I can see that people are starting to question their values. We are slowly realizing that life is not all about money, but rather about living. How can we create lives, we also enjoy?
Morality is something that humanity is developing
Einstein talked about it in terms of energy, I see it more in terms of goodness. It has to do with a certain set of values, or of not conducting evil, that enables us to live better together and more at peace with ourselves.
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”