THE SWEET TIME OF KALIMAGDORA

Director: Leopold Lahola

Country: Czechoslovakia, Federal Republic of Germany

Year: 1968

Duration: 1.41

Languages: slovak / subtitles in English

Original name: Sladký čas Kalimagdory

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Writer/Director-literato Leopold Lahola could have been one of ČSSR cultures best and brightest, had he not to flee in ’49 after his theatre piece Atentát (Assasination) got attacked by Gottwald’s bloodhounds – only the year before he’d written the screenplays for three of the period’s zenith films: František Čáp’s Bílá tma (White Darkness), Martin Frič’s Návrat domů (The Return Home) and Paľo Bielik’s Vlčie diery (Wolves’ Lairs)…

Soon after his arrival in the recently founded state of Israel, he got a shot at directing, becoming a pioneer of local cinema – who was never able to make the country his new home; the last stop on his too short a life’s journey was the Federal Republic of Germany where Lahola was able to work in cinema (Der Teufel spielte Balalaika, 1961; Duell vor Sonnenuntergang, 1965) and television (Der Blinde and Prager Legende, both 1967).

Sladký čas Kalimagdory should have finally facilitated his move home – instead he died, even before the film saw its release and his first short story collection Posledná vec (The Last Thing, 1968) its publication, but at least in Bratislava. It’s difficult to not see this fable about one man living a whole life inside a single year without changing on the outside as an X-Ray of Lahola’s soul. But more so, it’s an allegory on timelessness and the flow of things – an evocation of a tranquil existence in defiance of society’s sudden twists and terrible turns. (OM)