Filmmaker Juraj Lehotský returns to the Festival following his 2008 documentary Blind Loves with his riveting, narrative feature debut about a 15-year-old named Ela (newcomer Michaela Bendulová) sent to live in a correctional facility.
Forced into a correctional facility by her mother, fifteen-year old Ela is a troubled teenager trapped by the confines of authority. Cut off from the outside world, she keeps to herself, preferring to spend her time in solitude writing letters to her thirty-year-old security-guard boyfriend, Roby. After escaping during New Year's celebrations, she moves in with him, in the garage below the train tracks he calls home. Ela is willing to look past his drug addiction and lack of prospects, going so far as to offer to sell her body in a scheme that would wipe away his debt. Although she succeeds, she is disillusioned by Roby's apathy and returns to the correctional facility where, pinballing from one unstable relationship to another and hardened by the necessity of relying on herself in the real world, Ela is faced with a life-changing decision.
Filmmaker Juraj Lehotský returns to the Festival following his 2008 documentary Blind Loves with his narrative feature debut, a film driven by the strong performance of newcomer Michaela Bendulová. Discovered by Lehotský in a detention centre during a two-year casting process, Bendulová plays Ela with unwavering and emotionless confidence, giving a natural performance in which layers of nuance reveal themselves throughout the film's silent passages.
Lehotský is aided by his co-screenwriter
Marek Lešcák (of Martin Šulík's Gypsy,
which played the Festival in 2011) in creating
an authentic portrayal of teenage isolation
and self-sufficiency. The camerawork
recalls the Dardenne brothers' penetrating
observance of individuality, and through
Ela's unflinching gaze, Lehotský demonstrates
his skill at capturing the subtle
changes that will eventually lead to the
film's life-affirming miracle.