Kveto Hecko Headshot KVETO HECKO

The Great School of Days

(1990) 46min

Velvet Revolution from a high school student point of view

While the high politics in Slovakia was changing progressively from the totalitarian Communist state into a democratic one after the Velvet Revolution in 1989, people that were in charge during the Communist years, running the high school education policies, were still in charge and a lot of turmoil and conflicts emerged during that transition. This film followed a particular incident on one of the high schools in Bratislava, where the situation was the most conflicting. It included the former headmaster, still confident in the Communist practices, students revolting and speaking about a former teacher that committed suicide allegedly because of a political pressure coming from the headmaster, and other teachers trying to figure out how the new situation in education of students will proceed in the new democratic system. Students, teachers, educators, and political figures at the ministry of education try to answer the questions about the new democratic educational system that needs to substitute the old Communist dogmas and guidelines, high schools had strictly to adhere to in the past. Film also exposes people who were in the forefront of the news as anchors in television during the Communist regime, who actively helped the regime to enforce the Communist ideology on general audiences. Probably not surprisingly enough many of them headed at that time into the new formed political parties. Since we were shooting students for a period of time, we came back after our initial interviews and asked them about how they feel about the political situation a couple of months later. Many of the feel betrayed and realized that the Velvet Revolution, as the revolution of Students in Czechoslovakia, was stolen from them and almost nothing what they wanted and fought for, in the end happened. The movie is interspersed with the footage snippets from the concerts of Tublatanka, music group that was immensely popular among the high school students. Verses from songs relate with the students’ views and intensify their opinions about politics and their future lives.

If you are interested in a related top political situation in Czechoslovakia in 1989-90, featuring the very first days of Vaclav Havel presidency and his legacy as the enemy of the outgoing Communist state, watch the documentary And the Last Will Be the First.

Director, Writer
Kveto Hecko
Slovak Television
Prize for Directing, Slovak Literary Fund, Bratislava, Slovakia, 1991