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2013 DOK Leipzig, International Competition Documentary Film, Filmpreis "Leipziger Ring"
Slovakia, Czech Republic | 2013 | 100 min. | Slovak | English subtitles | German Premiere
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Normalization | Kauza Cervanová

Only a moment ago, 19-year-old medical student Ludmilla Cervanova had smiled into the camera. Her body was found in a river in a small Slovak town in 1976. Seven men were responsible for the horrifying rape and death of the girl. Fortunately, the perpetrators were apprehended and condemned. But though Ludmilla was drowned alive, oddly enough no signs of violence could be found on the body. Though the murderers have been in prison for years, not one of them can remember the terrible crime. Though a number of witnesses confirmed the innocence of the condemned men, none of them was heard in court. Robert Kirchhoff lets these people talk; many others fall silent when faced with his questions about plausible facts. He delves deeply into a case that has remained an unsolved puzzle in Slovak history until today. He reconstructs a “map of events” and paints a picture that shows power, its abuse, manipulation, the perfidiousness of intelligence services and the political machinations of a country. “Normalization” demonstrates in the best sense what film is capable of. And the truth is still concealed behind the innocent smile of a 19-year-old girl.

Claudia Lehmann
Original Title: Kauza Cervanová
Country: Slovakia, Czech Republic
Year: 2013
Language: Slovak
Subtitle: English
Runtime: 100 min.
Format: DCP
Color: Colour and B&W
Director: Robert Kirchhoff
Producer: Robert Kirchhoff, coproducer: Hypermarket Film, CzechTV
Cinematographer: Ján Meliš
Editor: Jana Vlčková, Adam Brothánek
Animation: Jozef Giertli Danglár
Sound: Václav Flegl, Michal Gábor
Music: Peter Zagar
Script: Robert Kirchhoff
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The texts to the Documentary Competition films and the International Programme films were written by the members of the selection committee. All quotes from DOK Leipzig catalogue articles must be identified as such and cite the author’s name. All articles where no author’s name is given are production notes.