Paper Heads/

Director Duaan Hanak’s first post-Communist film is the result of a five-year trawl through the Czech and Slovak archives. Dealing with the history of Slovakia from the 1950s to the fall of Communism, it combines archive material and testimony from 350 interviews, 60 of which appear in the final film. His subjects include working conditions in the uranium mines, experience of torture by the secret police, the political trials of the 50s, and the special nature of the ‘humanised’ repression that followed the Warsaw Pact invasion of 1968. The title refers to the ‘paper heads’ of political leaders traditionally paraded on May Day. Hanak’s dialectical approach counterpoints vision and sound, and contrasts repressed historical facts and their ideological justifications. Without understanding the past, he argues, how can we avoid repeating such mistakes.
Slovakia/Switzerland/France/Germany/Czech Republic, 1995. English subtitles. Colour. 96 min.

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