Cigarettes and Songs

Cigarety a pesničky
Director: Marek Šulík, Jana Kovalčíková

Slovakia, documentary, 2010, 50 min
In an evangelical church in Eastern Slovakia, something extraordinary is happening. A group of Roma gypsies and Slovakians have come together to make music and are recording a CD of ancient Roma songs in new compositions. One of the participants, Bela, cannot speak about the loss of his wife and children, but pours out his emotions in moving song. Whereas, Irena has left her husband Emil and her children behind in their poor district, happy to have a few days to focus on the songs which have forever been a part of her life. Their Slovakian colleagues have had no experience with the Roma before, who are continually persecuted. Nonetheless both groups soon warm to their humour and humility, in a stirring film about the unifying, therapeutic power of music. “Cigarettes and Songs” is an especially luminous view into the power of music.
About the director:
Jana Kovalčíková (born 1981) is one of the most promising Slovak directors. After finishing dramatic arts studies in Prague and film studies in Bratislava, the filmmaker started creating films which could be best described as “happening documentaries”. Those are honest and unconventional works marked by deeply-rooted national traditions. In her latest film J. Kovalčíková explores human relations, an especially interesting topic for the director. This time it is with the help of music.
Section: Music Moves the World

Screenplay: Marek Šulík, Jana Kovalčíková

Dir. of Photography: Jana Kovalčíková, Marek Šulík