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Slovak Studies Program

Martin Votruba


Fountain for Suzanne (1986)





The clip contains several of the features that made Fountain for Suzanne (Fontána pre Zuzanu, dir. Dušan Rapoš, 1986) a runaway success with the teen and post-teen generations, a film populated with smartly costumed and made-up characters wafting through love, friendship, and family in segments with a novel pop veneer and soundtrack.
The sequence starts as the always silent, always black-clad biker couple with Anglicized nicknames Peggi (Denisa Mattieligová) and Deni (Ivan Bališ), along with the leader of the pack Viki (Robo Grigorov, a real-life rock singer), watch Džeri's (Edo Krajčír) daily breakdance routines, a fresh import to communist Central Europe.
Not far from them but in her own world, the dreamy odd girl out Maja Petrová (Jana Svobodová, voice Tatiana Kulíšková, singing Silvia Slivová), loosely fitted with a both awkward and then-fashionable glass frame, composes a poem about her crush on a new neighbor, sculpture student nicknamed Picasso (André Vícha). The film turns the poem into lyrics and Maja goes through a song sequence fantasizing about his chiseled chest, the first such representation of a male body in Slovak cinema. (Rerecorded by several artists, the song still gets noticeable airtime in Slovakia.)
A cut returns the film to another room in Maja's and her younger sister's, the title character Zuzana (Eva Vejmělková, voice Zuzana Skopálová), home. The screenplay adds a whiff of glamor by making their father (Vladimír Kratina) a pilot, a job that opens up the world, although not the story, beyond the constrained travel options under communism. As Zuzana speaks to her less precious friend Bela Strinková (Katarína Šugárová, voice Zuzana Tulčíková), the dialogue establishes a plot device to be developed later, by hinting that not everything may be so peachy in the worldly household, while making an extra-diegetic wink at the viewer when Bela notes the father looks like the actor Kratina, who actually plays the father. Two minutes after the end of the clip, a frontal shot shows the 16-year-old actress take off her T-shirt with no bra underneath, adding titillation to the mix that created the film's allure.


Slovak cinema 1945-1989.


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