Servants - IFFAM - 5th International Film Festival and Awards ‧ Macao

Slovakia, Romania, Czech Republic, Ireland | 2020 | 80’ | B&W | Slovakian |Chinese and English subtitles | Group: B
Director: Ivan Ostrochovský

2020/12/04 17:00

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Programmer’s Note

Government and church have never easy bedfellows, as at least two millennia of conflict and one-upmanship between them attest. In this quietly chilling film from Slovak director Ivan Ostrochovsky, the church has fallen under the sway of the ruling Communist party which is determined to have all priests under its thumb. Ostrochovsky explores the ethical quagmire of this situation in a seminary where the young trainee priests still possess the idealism and sense of moral justice that Christianity was designed to promote. Shot in a bleak timeless black-and-white highlighting the dreary black cassocks and stark hallways of the seminary, Servants focuses on that awful moment when blameless adults are asked to compromise their values in order to survive. In today’s world where many governments are demanding their people do the same, the film couldn’t be more pertinent.



1980. Michal and Juraj are students at a theological seminary in totalitarian Czechoslovakia. Fearing the dissolution of their school, the tutors are moulding the seminarians into a shape satisfactory to the ruling Communist Party. Each of the young students must decide whether to give into temptation and choose the easier way of collaborating with the regime, or to stand by his Christian principles and subject himself to draconian surveillance by the secret police.


Ivan Ostrochovský

Slovak director Ivan Ostrochovsky was born in 1972 in Zilina, Slovakia. After several documentary shorts and series, he directed his feature documentary debut Velvet Terrorists (2013) which premiered at Berlinale 2014, where it won the Tagesspiegel Readers’ Award. His narrative feature debut Koza (2015) played in Berlinale 2015 and was the Slovak Oscar Entry for 2016. Servants had its world premiere in Berlinale’s new competition section Encounters in Feb this year. He is also a co-writer on Peter Kerekes’ new film Censor, and a co-owner and producer at sentimentalfilm and Punkchart films.

Cast & Crew

Director Ivan Ostrochovský

Scriptwriter(s) Rebecca Lenkiewicz, Ivan Ostrochovský, Marek Leščák

Producer(s) Katarina Tomkova

Cinematographer Juraj Chlpik

Production Designer Juraj Chlpik

Editor Jan Daňhel, Martin Malo, Maroš Šlapeta

Music Miroslav Toth, Cristian Lolea

Costumes Designer Katarína Hollá

Cast Samuel Skyva, Samuel Polakovič , Vlad Ivanov, Vladimı́r Strnisko, Milan Mikulčı́k

Production Companies Punkchart Films, Point Film, Negativ, Film and Music Entertainment, Libra Film Production, Hai Hui Entertainment, Sentimentalfilm


World Sales LOCO Films

International Competition