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
Călin Boto is a Romanian emergent film critic and the editor-in-chief of Film Menu, a film magazine edited by students of the Film University in National University of Film and Drama in Bucharest (UNATC). He has written articles for several cultural publications such as Dilema Veche,Dissolved Magazine, SUB25 and he coordinates Film Menu’s weekly cineclub. At the moment he’s working on a bachelor's degree on the films and film criticism of Jonas Mekas.
Barbara Majsa was born and raised in Hungary, but currently resides in Sweden and attends Stockholm University for Cinema Studies. She has worked as a journalist since 2009, and has covered several film festivals. Barbara is the managing editor at Cinema Scandinavia, where she interviews film-makers and focuses her work on artistic and cultural products that reflect upon society - films concerning social, societal, economic and political issues.
Yulia Kuzischina is a film journalist, based in Moscow. She studied visual culture at Higher School of Economics and later started to write for two film-related websites, RussoRosso and Kinomania.ru. Currently she also works at a film sales company Ant!pode Sales & Distribution. Her main field of interest is Eastern European cinema.
Tomáš Hudák is a programmer and a film critic based in Bratislava, Slovakia. Programming at independent cultural centre A4 – Space for contemporary culture, which focus on challenging and experimental art, is his main occupation throughout a year. He is also associated with IFF Cinematik in Pieštany, Bratislava IFF, and Film Festival 4 Elements in Banská Štiavnica. Regularly writing for film magazine Kinečko, his texts also appeared in other publications such as Senses of Cinema, Tess Magazine etc. In past, he worked as a film archivist at Slovak Film Institute and his archival research resulted in two papers on local film history.
Daria Badior is a film critic and a Culture Editor of LB.ua, one of Ukraine’s biggest online newspapers. Focuses on writing about contemporary Ukrainian cinema. Also she co-curates a project on LB.ua named Short-list about young Ukrainian filmmakers. Since 2017 takes part in selecting films for Kyiv Film Critics Week, a new film festival held at the end of October. A member of FIPRESCI.
Łukasz Mańkowski Half of the Asian Cinema focused blog ‘Referat Filmowy’, Japanese Studies and Film Theory graduate from Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, specializing in Asian Film. Occasionally photographer, translator and theatre-film journalist who simply loves ramen. Previously member of 5 Flavours Film Festival People’s Jury, FEFF Udine Student Campus and EIFF Student Critics Competition.
TUTORS of FIPRESCI Young Critics Warsaw Project
Yoana Pavlova is a Bulgarian writer, researcher, and programmer currently based in Paris.Her field of work includes cinema, VR, digital culture, and the New East. She is the foundingeditor of Festivalists.com (a playform for experimental media criticism), with bylines fornumerous print and online publications in Bulgarian, English, and French. Contributor to thefollowing books: Cinemas of Paris (2016, St Andrews Film Studies), Eastern Promises (2014,Festival Internacional de Cine de Donostia – San Sebastián), The Bulgarian Nouvelle Vague(2012, Edno).
Tommaso Tocci is based in Italy, where he works as a film critic and translator covering filmfestivals across Europe for international publications. He has also worked for BerlinaleTalents and for the Edinburgh International Film Festival, and he currently serves as Co-Programmer for the Saas-Fee Film Festival in Switzerland.