COMEBACK - The director reflects back on the first days of shooting his recently released documentary
More than five years ago, I was tempted to make a feature-length film. It was right after the positive reception of my short student film Arsy-Versy. Riding the wave of enthusiasm, I was looking for a theme. In the end, the theme has found me by some kind of coincidence. Once I had shot a short spot about equal opportunities (within an integration project of the European Union) for a French production company in jail. After it was finished, the prison director suggested that I can get back to Ilava with my own project. Years later, I called him, asking if his offer still stood. It did.
I decided to add a screenwriter to my regular working team. I went to Stupava to see Jura Šlauka whom I knew from school. I had a hunch it would be a good idea for him to get some fresh air. And indeed; I found him rooted to the pub floor up to his knees. He seemed more than perfect for the project.
We decided to make a film about long-term prisoners. We have followed their lives behind the prison gate and explored the situations after their release. The film tells the stories of two prisoners who were willing to co-operate. I remember how we entered the prison cell for the first time, dressed up as inmates to collect material. I was ashamed of my prejudice. At the same time, I was fascinated by the space we have entered. We started getting to know our protagonists, co-operating with them and respecting each other. Gradually we have established a relationship. I guess it’s due to this fact that the film is not a mere report on the phenomenon of recidivism but also a journey beyond that. Despite the vicious circle of failures and tragedies, our protagonists are essentially sensitive, vulnerable and fragile human beings.