Summer Film Festival 4 Elements



In our latitudes, reaching the age of eighteen is one of the most significant milestones of a man’s life. It opens an imaginary gate towards several previously illegal pleasures and, in terms of law, deprives us of the status of children. It marks the end of one era of youth. But what is youth, actually? A sign of quality? Or rather the opposite? Is it an individual phenomenon or rather one that is universal and ever so merciless? Does youth only have to do with age?

4 Elements are turning eighteen and so qualify as one of the longest-running film events in Slovakia. From a small-scale get-together for a handful of film devotees, they have “grown” into one of the biggest events of the cultural summer of Banská Štiavnica and – all in all – of the whole year. To call them young would probably be too ambitious, but fresh and pulsating is always what they’re trying to be and remain. They’re enriching the programme with new elements, increasing capacities, looking around for new venues and exploring new possibilities. They stick with what’s proven (silent film screenings with live music at the Old Castle) and turn successful experiments into traditions (picnic at the football stadium). Do 4 Elements fulfill the criteria defining youth? We may not know, but during five August days, we’ll be intensely searching for an answer.

Searching in the showers of an American high school after a gym class (Carrie), somewhere in the Polish countryside during hot summer holidays (Tricks), wading through spilled honey (The Wonders) and wandering somewhere between theatre and film, dreams and reality as well as childhood and adulthood all around us (Fanny and Alexander). We will compare how our parents and grandparents were growing up and whether their youth really was so different from ours ( We will look westwards and after the successful winter seminar screening of several German mumblecore films, will be showing another four pieces of German cinema, this time featuring young protagonists ( We will travel in time back to our childhood days thanks to the films in the 4 Elements for Kids section. Although aimed at children, they captivate and give joy to audiences across generations. We will take a break from fiction in the documentary film section (Youth.doc), get drawn into the world of animation thanks to the Youthful selection of Fest Anča, while Martin Čihák’s experimental selection will present a generation of Czech filmmakers that imprinted their youth deep into film-strips (Generation MK). A propos film-strips, can we still consider film the proverbial “youngest art form” when it’s forsaken its original medium and (except for archival screenings at the festival), we now perceive it almost solely via a system of zeros and ones? Film has grown up. Has it matured? Has it grown old? Is it even susceptible to the criteria of aging, as we perceive them?

4 Elements present a five-day long excursion into youth open to everyone; those for whom it’s miles away, those for whom it’s only a stone’s throw away, and for anyone who’s a local. The questions are many. You can as well as don’t have to let this year’s festival programme answer them.

Peter Gašparík

P.S.: Yes, the heading does quote Sládkovič’s poem Marína. Congratulations and welcome!