Woman of the New Age (2018-2022)

A film poem about love, death and democracy in the most beautiful Slovak town

“Being a Democrat is not an easy thing, because it means responsibility for all actions that must be done consciously and voluntarily. Such a responsibility does not want to be taken by every person, because it is easier for a low-minded and not self-conscious person to obey than to make his or her own free will. In totalitarian states, the regime pushes women completely into private life, depriving them of their freedom and civil rights. This dependence of the woman's way of life on the ruling regime has a detrimental effect on her overall development, since if she achieves a great degree of development under her auspicious regime, in the hostile regime she will fall back to the first stage, and then she must start again. Such intermittent development is very dangerous because it breaks character, ability, perseverance and effort.” (Dr. Alžbeta Gwerková Göllnerová)

The documentary film Woman of a New Age brings the story and ideas of the Slovak pioneer of democracy for women, the hungarist and historian Dr. Alžbeta Gwerková Göllnerová (1905-1944), who came to the most beautiful Slovak city Banská Štiavnica in 1938, to spent there last 6 years of her life. The film is a part of a larger crossmedia project called Woman and Democracy (film, exhibition, book, school discussions).

The Aim of the Project

In the most beautiful Slovak city Banská Štiavnica, Dr. Alžbeta Gwerková-Göllnerová (1905-1944) witnessed the annihilation of democratic values and concept´s of the common Czechoslovak state, along with the rise of the clero-fascist regime in Slovakia. Her book entitled Woman of the New Age was condemned by the most important women’s association in Slovakia nd soon afterwards, she ended up in the Kremnička mass grave. Recently, more and more Slovak and European politicians – including, unfortunately, female politicians – are striving to undermine democratic values and curtail the rights of women under the cloak of religion. At times, women are women´s worst enemies. Therefore, if we want to achieve a true change, we should begin among the women.

Stage: Banská Štiavnica and surroundings The visual concept of the film is based on the town of Banská Štiavnica itself. Dr. Alžbeta Gwerková Göllnerová admired its sights, wrote about it and, as a passionate tourist, enjoyed the unique beauty of its surroundings. Touching the nature, enjoying a bath in the seas, relaxing on meadows, discovering secrets of deep forests, wandering along the gracefully waving paths often portrayed in paintings by her husband Gwerk, ascents to Tanad, Sitno brought her so much needed rest, the sensual balance of intellectual work, and the escape from the pressure of the thriving clerical fascism to which she, as a professor at the Banská Štiavnica High School, was constantly exposed. So the traces of the last years of Dr. Gwerková remained somehow in this place. The team of dancers and actors is looking for them. Contemporary young people recover situations from her life, discover and test her ideas about woman and democracy.

The development of the film was supported by the Audioviovisual Fund and Town Banská Štiavnica. The film was pitched in DOX IN VITRO workshop in Piešťany during the International Film Festival Cinematik in September 2020. The production was supported by The Slovak Radio and Television.

Filming in Banská Štiavnica, June 2020