Europe in Short, Section 3

    19. 11. 2019

    After the screening of Europe in Short Part III, Peter Cerovšek and Matevž Jerman conducted a Q&A with the makers of Horse Riders (Kryzoki), director and writer Anna Gawlita and director of photography Tomasz Wolski. Gawlita drew inspiration for the motif from her personal experience, remembering this unusual custom from her rural childhood. This half-pagan half-Catholic ritual involves equestrians who traditionally gather in a small village to spread the God’s message, while the villagers pray and drink vodka. The director strongly disapproved of this ritual, stressing repeatedly how aggravated she had been by people drinking while praying. She considers this an act of sacrilege, whilst still incorporating “spirituality that creates a sense of elation among people” and “spiritual peace”. Nevertheless, she is proud of her fellow villagers who keep practising this custom year after year, even though there are no horses in the village anymore and the animals are obtained only for the purpose of the festival. The filmmakers reflected on the project for a number of years, trying to come up with the idea about how to show the contrast that the director finds immoral. They filmed it for as many as five years, which amounted to five days as the annual festival takes place over a course of one day. They decided on the black-and-white technique in order to unify the different shooting days that had to be harmonised and merged into one, as well as to obscure the changes that had taken place over the last thirty years; “people have been praying, drinking and riding throughout this time”, explained the filmmakers. They also spoke about the technical equipment and the contemporary composer and clarinettist who composed the music when the film was all-but wrapped. In concluding, Gawlita explained that she found it “ironic to show people kissing the statue of Jesus and feeling no unease about bacterial contamination”. 

    Written by Nataša Šušteršič

    Photo Iztok Dimc