Section: Spectrum



Michal Blaško
SK, 2022, 90 Min

After the son of Irina, a Ukrainian woman living in the Czech Republic, is attacked and seriously injured, nobody has any doubt that it could only be the Roma who are to blame. The neighbour’s son, also a Rom, is arrested without any evidence. Both a film about racism and a tale about the suppression of a guilty conscience in times of economic distress, loosely based on the Brechtian motto "Grub first, then ethics”.

Irina, a single mother from Ukraine, has been working as a cleaning lady in the Czech Republic for several years and has plans of applying for Czech citizenship. Out of the blue, however, her son Igor is attacked and ends up in hospital with serious injuries. A movement in solidarity with the 15-year-old springs up on the Internet and yet, by politically appropriating the case, this in fact does nothing but stir up hatred against Roma. Calls for greater security quickly grow louder, the mayor is insulted, right-wing extremists organise a demonstration, and Irina is given a nicer apartment by the city authorities as a form of compensation. And yet Irina soon finds herself caught between conflicting emotions since, as it turns out, Igor didn't tell the whole truth... Generating no small amount of suspense, Slovakian director Michal Blaško narrates a drama full of twists and turns that also encompasses the hardships of life on an impoverished prefab housing estate and the dream of social advancement. There is little room for solidarity with others in a society in which anti-Romani sentiment is omnipresent and economic constraints make people susceptible to blackmail in this film that exemplifies the immoral compromises made in a bid for a supposedly better world. 

Text: Kira Taszman
Englisch: Peter Rickerby


Stadthalle: original version with English subtitles 

Michal Blaško -

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