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VENICE 2009 Critics’ Week / Slovakia

Slovakian Foxes on the Lido

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Slovakian Foxes on the Lido

Slovak director Mira Fornay’s debut feature Foxes was presented as part of the Critics’ Week in Venice, marking the first time since 1984 a Slovak feature premiered there. The film tackles immigrant issues and familial love and is largely set abroad.

Foxes is a Slovak-Czech-Irish co-production about two sisters, Tina (Rita Banczi) and her younger sibling Alzbeta (Reka Derzsi), who both live in Dublin, Ireland. Tina is married to a local, Steve (Aaron Monoghan), and her well-organised and sunny life is something that Alzbeta rebels against, whether out of jealousy or, even though she’s in her early twenties, she’s not quite out of her adolescence yet.

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Though not immediately clear from the start, there is also a secret that the two sisters share that has never been really discussed, which casts a long shadow over their otherwise close rapport. The director has described the film as a “love story about sisterly love” and that is a very accurate description.

The gritty-looking film, with its dark colours and functional cinematography, might at first look like a story of realism but Fornay adds a layer of symbolism that involves the animals of the title.

“Even though Foxes have lived in Dublin for almost a century,” says the director, “people still perceive them as aliens, exactly like most of us still perceive immigrants in our neighbourhoods. Immigrants as well as urban foxes survive on the leftovers”. The film brings together Irish outfit Samson Films, Cineart TV Prague and Slovak company Miras. It is co-produced by i/o and Ceska Televize, both from Czech Republic. The film is sold internationally by Prague-based Film Europe.

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