Erika Hníková • Director of Every Single Minute
“I wanted the audience to ask themselves questions like: what do I do for my child?”
by Kaleem Aftab
- This documentary about a boy being brought up in accordance with the Kameveda method has had its world premiere in the Crystal Globe Competition
How should one bring up a child? Is there a “right” way? These are the questions at the heart of Erika Hníková’s new Karlovy Vary competition title, Every Single Minute [+see also:
interview: Erika Hníková
film profile], which scooped the Special Jury Prize (see the news). She told Cineuropa about making the film, and how she had to confront her own prejudices about the Kameveda method and make a neutral movie that leaves it up to the audience to decide whether the Hanuliaks are doing the right thing by their son.
Cineuropa: When Every Single Minute starts, it seems as though it could be a critique of the Kameveda method, but it isn’t at all; you are very impartial. How did you keep a distance?
Erika Hníková: I hope it’s also not favourable to the method. What I wanted in my point of view as a director was to be neutral. I have a son who is eight years old. During shooting, I had ups and downs in terms of what I felt towards the family. So, when I first heard about them, I had the feeling that they were completely crazy because I’d had some experience with kids myself, and I was thinking that they were mad to be doing this to themselves. I also thought that they were crazy because of their son, as it’s not normal to do this to your child.
However, when I started to shoot, I began to have mixed feelings. All of my previous films were critical and had a straightforward point of view, so it’s normal in my documentary movies to adopt that approach, I’d say. But here, it was up and down all the time. I felt like how they were treating him was horrible, but on the other hand, they like him and he likes them. They are full of energy, and they can dedicate so much time to him. When this feeling continued during the shoot, I felt that I wanted to make a neutral film where you would see how they live and make your own mind up according to what you witness in the movie.
One of the things that is most noticeable is that the son seems very well adjusted. Did that surprise you?
During the shoot and during my research, because I spent a lot of time there, he was never nervous; he was always funny, and he wanted to do everything. If he didn’t want to do something in particular, he would say so calmly and politely, and he was only three-and-a-half years old. When my son didn’t want to do something, he would start to yell at me! Because they didn’t push him to do it, he did something else instead. I thought that at the beginning, once I started shooting, after a few days, I would see him crying, and they would push him and yell at each other, but it didn’t happen.
So, in the end, you have made a film about the difficult choices that parents have to make when raising a child.
I wanted the audience to ask themselves questions like: what do I do for my child? Do I do enough? In what areas should I do more? In what areas could I do more? Am I a good parent, or am I a bad parent? Also, for me, it is a movie about whether we can influence our kids. That’s an important topic for me because I would never do this with my child. I think children are born as free spirits, and they need to find out what they want to do in life themselves.
Can a child be a free spirit, though? There is always some level of control.
Yes, but the amount of control can be different. For me, it’s also a movie about the relationship between them because it can change a lot when you have a child.
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