Archive of films Pictures of the Old World / Obrazy starého sveta

1972, 64 min

Section: Out of the Past
Year: 2022

A testimony leaning towards contemplative lyricism, this documentary portrays the unique inhabitants of a far-flung region of rural Slovakia as it meditates on old age, loneliness, poverty and the weight of life’s destiny. However, the film is also a reflection of the indomitability of man and of an authentic existence that defies the pressures of civilisation.


The singularity of the ten individuals portrayed in this work – inhabitants of a remote mountainous region of Slovakia – rattled the former regime to the extent that the film was locked away in the vault for many years. Nonetheless, the director, inspired by the photographs of Martin Martinček, demonstrated considerable sensibility and invention in his documentary poem, whose underlying message is supremely humane. Hanák’s villagers, decrepit through old age and harsh living conditions, resemble ancient trees with twisted branches which even the most destructive gales have failed to uproot. At life’s end, weak, lonely and sick, these people wrestle with their destiny each day, unwavering and without a word of complaint. Though sorely tried by fate, when asked “what has value in life?”, they give the timid response: people… love…

Zdena Škapová

About the director

Dušan Hanák

Dušan Hanák (1938, Bratislava). Selected filmography: Old Shatterhand Came to See Us (1966, short doc.), 322 (1969), Pictures of the Old World (1972, doc.), Rose-Tinted Dreams (1976), I Love, You Love (1980), Quiet Happiness (1985), Private Lives (1990), Paper Heads (1995, doc.).


Slovenský filmový ústav / Slovak Film Institute
Grösslingová 32, 811 09, Bratislava
Tel: +421 257 101 503
Fax: +421 252 963 461
E-mail: [email protected]

About the film

Black & white, DCP

Section: Out of the Past
Director: Dušan Hanák
Screenplay: Dušan Hanák
Dir. of Photography: Alojz Hanúsek
Music: Georg Friedrich Händel, Vacláv Hálek, Jozef Malovec
Sound: Alfréd Benčič
Editor: Alfréd Benčič
Producer: Juraj Král
Production: Československý film Bratislava
Sales: Slovenský filmový ústav / Slovak Film Institute


Dušan Hanák

Film Director


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