, 99min, skOmeU
In the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, the Slovak side had more reasons to create a mythology related to their time under Nazi domination. In the summer of 1944, a multifaceted and heavily armed Slovak National Uprising emerged to liberate the occupied Slovak territories and overthrow the puppet regime of collaborator-in-charge Jozef Tiso. After the war ended, theatre veteran Pal’o Bielik directed some of the most monumental celebrations of his compatriots’ brave struggle against all odds. The enduringly popular KAPITÁN DABAČ stands out not only as a superbly crafted piece of classicist action-drama, but also as an unusually nuanced psychological portrayal of Slovak courage under fire. We meet the eponymous Dabač as an officer in the Slovak Nazi-affiliated army and a tired veteran of the Ukrainian campaign, who gradually realizes he is fighting on the wrong side of history. Punished for disobedience, he escapes into the forests where he joins the anti-fascist resistance. Even in his new role, Dabač remains a romantic individualist, questioning the beliefs and behavior of both himself and his new comrades. In addition, Pal’o Bielik surrounds his protagonist with two different women (both bearing the same name: Nada), thus creating a love triangle that further emphasizes the film’s dominant motives: the necessary overlapping of the personal and political/historical and the moral necessity of choosing a side.
With an introduction by Rastislav Steranka.