Slovenian feature film The Miner, directed by Hanna Slak, had its international premiere at the 2017 Warsaw Film Festival in the International Competition, following its September release in Slovenian cinemas.
Inspired by real-life events, The Miner is that rare kind of film that bears witness to painful history and has a deep significance and emotional investment for those who made it.
It brings to the big screen the story of a coal miner who in 2009 discovered the remnants of around 4,000 people who were buried alive in a mine in Slovenia sometime after World War Two. Far from being a thriller, this film is instead a drama about the consequences of war, and the fight of simple people against a system that has little respect for truth and human lives.
Besides shedding light on this shocking discovery and questioning the way in which the authorities handled it, the film respectfully pays tribute to the bravery and integrity of the miner who made the discovery and tried to make it public, despite being shunned and reproached by Slovenian society. As Slak herself said when presenting the film in Warsaw, few Slovenians want to remind themselves about this painful history so are reluctant to see the film - but those who do are able to gain a better understanding of it.
Fortunately, the film pays as much attention to cinematography as it does to its subject. Through visual aesthetics, the director manages to produce a unique experience for viewers, and tense scenes that are emotionally resonant and engaging. There are some interesting choices of music and sounds that startle the audience from time to time, helping them feel the emotions right along with the characters. Camera movements and lighting help the viewer to feel present in the scenes, especially those taking place inside the mine. There is also nice play with visual metaphors and flashbacks that set the film apart from social realism. The actors’ strong performances further involve viewers, so that they can really feel what it was like to be those people, in those circumstances.
FIPRESCI Young Critics Warsaw Project
Monika Gimbutaitė, LithuaniaMonika Gimbutaitė, born in 1993 in Lithuania, graduated from Vilnius Academy of Arts, Art Theory and History programme. For three and a half years she held the position of a programme coordinator at European Film Forum Scanorama. She is currently working as culture journalist for 15min.lt, the second biggest news website in Lithuania.
Alexander Gabelia, GeorgiaGeorgian film journalist and activist. He's a political refugee from Abkhazia. Alexander studied history of cinema and Cinematography at Ilia State University. He writes about cinema and culture in various prints and online outlets including LIBERALI.GE, AHA.GE and he’s a cinema reviewer for on-line magazine – www.magnettemag.com. He’s been also involved into Tbilisi International Film Festival and Cinedoc Tblisi.Arman Fatić, BosniaArman Fatić is Bosnian film critic/journalist currently based in Maribor, Slovenia where he is studying philosophy at Faculty of Arts Maribor. He is a writer for several websites/magazines across balkans some of which are ziher.hr, snl.ba and pulse.rs. His main fields of interest as a film critic are society problems in general and philosophical/religious symbolism in movies.
Jakub Wanat, PolandFilm-lover, cinema-goer, festival-fanatic. Both cinema and writing are my biggest passions, so I decided to combine them, which basically means I killed two birds with one stone. It all started with MAGIEL, Poland's biggest students' magazine, where for almost two years I was the head of the film column. I was chosen as a Polish representative in the Venice Days jury at the 2017 Venice Film Festival. I'm also the LUX prize ambassador and a proud member of the Scope100 project. I had a chance to write for Cineuropa, naEkranie and regularly for my blog. I'm studying both e-business and film studies, also having some time to work at a Polish start-up.
Mikhail Morkin, RussiaMoscow-based film journalist. He is a chief editor and critic for Kinomania.ru. His work has appeared in The Hollywood Reporter Russia, RussoRosso and Film Sense. He also worked as programmer assistant at 2morrow Film Festival. Born in Moscow in 1991, he holds a specialist’s degree in Linguistics from MSPU and is currently studying for master’s degree in Transmedia Production from HSE.
Mina Stanikic, Serbia24 year old film and theatre critic based in Novi Sad, Serbia. Although finishing medicine studies, she took up career as a cultural journalist, starting in Kultur!Kokoška, a culture-dedicated web magazine, slowly becoming focused on film and theatre criticism. Her articles have been published in various cultural magazines, mostly in Serbian language. Mina is alumna of 11th Talents Sarajevo, where she took part in Talent Press program, writing and publishing in English. In film criticism, she has particular interest in debut films, and the following transition from short to feature filmmaking. Mina works as a PR for the Film Front, International short film festival in Novi Sad, Serbia.
Romanita Alexeev, MoldovaRomanița’s relationship with the film world isn’t limited to her fascination for it. It also extends to her fascination with other people’s fascination for it. She has started her journey in this industry by studying film production and acting at the University of Salford, United Kingdom. Later on, she returned to her home-country, Moldova, where, at the present moment, is directing and an online/tv series about Moldovan film industry.