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Matúš Ryšan • Director of Out Of Pure Conscience

“After more than 25 years of existence, a ‘first wave’ of Slovak cinema is starting to form”


- We talked to Slovakian first-time director Matúš Ryšan about his short film Out Of Pure Conscience, selected for EFP’s Future Frames

Matúš Ryšan • Director of Out Of Pure Conscience

After Kristína notifies the police about certain financial irregularities she discovers within the ministry at which she works, she soon finds herself shunned and alone. Slovak film Out Of Pure Conscience is a thought provoking film about the price you pay for doing the right thing that not only looks at individual responsibility but also at a country still coming to terms with its totalitarian past.

The film is Matúš Ryšan’s graduation piece from the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava and - will soon screen as part of this year’s European Film Promotion’s Future Frames taking place during Karlovy Vary’s Eastern Promises. We talked to him about the inspiration for the film and the current state of Slovak cinema.

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Cineuropa: Was there a specific incident/ news story that inspired the film?
Matúš Ryšan:
Yes and no. In the past couple of years there are more and more stories of whistle-blowers coming forward all around Slovakia, and I feel all over the world as well. There were lots of news stories in recent history that inspired me while writing this film, but I felt it wouldn’t be fair to pick anyone specifically because of the individuality and uniqueness of each case, and the fact picking one might undermine the others. The main goal for me was to point out a state of mind of these human beings who feel the need to do the right thing, but on the other hand had to battle with the loneliness and doubt that came after.

Tell us about the tonal shift of the film. The first half is quite realistic but you stray into more dreamlike territory nearer the end. What made you want to approach it this way?
I feel like I’ve always been drawn into that kind of cinema. It was very important for me not to tell this kind of story as just another political drama, but be in some way adventurous. The thing I’m most interested in when making a film are my characters; to delve into their heads and let the audience feel the way they feel. In the past few years I’ve always experimented with the idea of combining the elements of very naturalistic cinema with very stylized, genre-like contrasts which feels very exciting and fresh to me right now and I hope the viewers feel that way too. Maybe the reason is because I really enjoy all of the forms of cinema: my love for the Dardenne Brothers is as big as for Ari Aster. So maybe that’s where my style comes from.

What do you think about the current state of Slovak cinema?
We are still a very young country and finally, after more than 25 years of existence, a ‘first wave’ of Slovak cinema is starting to form. In the past few years, more and more Slovak directors, such as Michal Blaško, Martina Buchelová or Martin Gonda are getting recognized around the world . And there’s this united atmosphere in cinema circles of directors working together as a unit, cooperating with each other on their films, without any sense of competition and all desperately wanting to do art in a different way. This way of thinking wasn’t present in Slovakia before and it kind of reminds me of Czech New Wave in the sixties.

You’re taking part in Future Frames: what are your hopes and expectations for EFP’s event?
I’m currently very excited to meet all of the people that are queued up in my schedule that the Future Frames provided for me in the next few weeks and hoping to get my film and my vision out there, hopefully making a platform for future projects with people who share these views.

What projects are you looking at working on in the future?
During the lockdown in I was able to write a pilot and a complete series bible for a mini-series detective thriller called Brehy (Shores). At the same time I’m working on my debut feature film which is currently being written and developed. It’s a story about a thirteen year old girl facing the consequences of the system after a suicide attempt.

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