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Slovak Studies Program

Martin Votruba


The Earth Sings







The Earth Sings (Zem spieva, dir. Karol Plicka, 1933) received recognition thanks to its idealization and aestheticization of the director's working goal to record customs and traditions. It excludes all urban practices and, to a large degree, adult male farmers, who did not favor folk costumes in the 20th century. Women farmers, too, wore simpler clothes to work than their Sunday and festive folk dresses they were asked to put on for some scenes. The clip, whose organizational topic is the drying and processing of flax, mirrors the film's content composed of ingredients that include dressed-up human reality, temporal-narrative sequencing of scenes, aesthetic framing of shots, dramatic employment of nature (especially cloud movement and mountain landscapes – the High Tatras), and the ever-present, mostly symphonic score with folk motifs.


Slovak cinema 1918-1939.


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