An excerpt from the booklet essay by Michal Michalovič

The path to Štefan Uher’s adaptation of Dominik Tatarka’s novel The Miraculous Virgin was somewhat more complex than it might seem at first glance. Tatarka’s novel was published in 1944 by the Matica Slovenská (Slovakia’s scientific and cultural institute), during the era of the Slovak Republic , some twenty years prior to Uher’s film adaptation, released in 1966. The years 1935 – 1949 could be called the peak era of the movement of ‘nadrealism’, the Slovak poetic tradition, that took inspiration from Czech and/or French surrealism, but whose representatives insisted on their works’ originality and independence of their precursors. Dominik Tatarka was a friend and kindred spirit of several of these poets, but he didn’t consider himself a nadrealist per se.

Tatarka was employed in the Czechoslovak Film Board (Československý Film) in Bratislava between 1st of April 1963 and 31st of March 1964 in the first tvorivá skupina run by his friend, scriptwriter and dramaturgist Albert Marenčin. It had been the second term for Tatarka working for the state-operated cinema institution in Czechoslovakia, the first taking place in the late 1940s (ending in 1949). Tatarka wrote previously, together with Leopold Lahola, the script for Paľo Bielik’s The Dam (Priehrada, 1950), but seeing the finished film he was actually left frustrated and disillusioned, according to Marenčin’s testimony.

Among the subjects on which Tatarka was supposed to be working in that period was the script for The Miraculous Virgin, based on his own novel. Tatarka was supposed to approve the story by September 1963 and the film was to be considered as for production in 1965. The story was finally approved several months later in February 1964. In the same year the second edition of Tatarka’s original novel was published by Slovenský spisovateľ and a story based on the novel had been published in issues 5 and 6 of the Slovenské pohľady (‘Slovak Views’) magazine. Twenty years after the publication of the original novel the cultural climate was full of The Miraculous Virgin, again. The zeitgeist had changed significantly in the meantime, of course, the Slovak republic had been abolished in 1945 and the country had experienced rather tumultuous developments (as with introduction of the Communist government, nationalization of the cinema production, the 1950s political trials and purges, the promises and hopes of liberalization in the early 1960s and so on) in the course of the following 20 years. Now, in 1964, The Miraculous Virgin was inscribing itself into a wholly different context in comparison to 1944, although a context which was still not receptive to avant-garde experimentation.

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Michal Michalovič's complete essay, from which this excerpt is taken, appears in the booklet which accompanies the release.

Contents
Disc Info


Czechoslovakia, 1966
Length / Feature
(Blu-ray/24fps): 97 minutes
(DVD/25fps): 93 minutes
Length / Special features:
46 minutes
Sound:
Blu-ray: 2.0 Mono LPCM (48k/24-bit)
DVD: 2.0 Mono
Black and white
Original aspect ratio: 1.37:1
Language: Slovak

Blu-ray: BD50 / 1080 / 24fps / Region ABC
DVD: PAL / DVD9 / Region 0

Blu-Ray: £19.99
DVD: £12.99
Release Date: 20 Aug 2018

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