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Slovak Studies Program

Martin Votruba


Native Country







Instead of socialism, Socialist Realism demanded endorsement of the communist regime; instead of realism, it mandated depiction of life as it was supposed to be according to its propagandists. Native Country (Rodná zem, dir. Josef Mach, 1953; avaiable without subtitles in Hillman Library) was particularly successful in dressing up the Socialist Realist principle in a massively folkloric configuration. While land is being forcefully taken away from farmers outside the film studios, the elated tractor driver Žofka (Margita Dalmadyová) cruises on the screen through a field of radiant sunflowers, followed by equally rhapsodic farmers all of whom sing a make-believe folk tune that welcomes the advent of farm machines to ease their lives. The special appeal of the folkloric ingredient made it stand out among the customarily dreary Socialist Realist productions, Native Country became the most popular film of the highly repressive 1950s.


Soundrack song lyrics (Slovak language)


  Hej, zahoreli zore na tom našom dvore. Hey, the burning dawn has risen in our farmyard.
  Vstávaj, šuhaj, vstávaj hore, Get up, lad, rise up,
  sedlaj kone motorové. saddle the engine-driven horses.
  Ej, duní chotár, duní, Ey, the village grounds resound, resound,
  spev letí po grúni. song flies across the slope.
  Šíre pole milý orie, My beloved plows the wide field,
  vozí sa mi na traktore. cruises on a tractor, my dear.
The phrase "the wide field" was a potential buoyant reference to the new, large fields created by the communist authorities out of the farmers' confiscated ("nationalized") smaller fields in the early 1950s.

The singer on the soundtrack is Margita Skyvová, née Dalmadyová.

Slovak film clip list.

Slovak cinema after World War II.



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