• Golden Globe Awards

The Line (Ciara) (Slovakia/Ukraine)

The Line is a co-production by Slovakia’s Wandal Production and Ukraine’s Garnet International Media Group. It has been chosen as Slovakia’s Foreign Language entry for the Oscars this year. The story is set on the Slovak-Ukrainian border in the fall of 2007. Life on the border is hard. The young people move away, the factories are being closed, there are no jobs and everything seems to be done in vain. The border provides the local people with jobs and livelihoods. Slovaks and Ukrainians smuggle tons of cigarettes and hundreds of illegal immigrants every year. But things are changing, in a few months the Slovaks will become part of the Schengen Area. Its border with Ukraine will become the most heavily secured segment of the EU’s external border. For the smugglers and human traffickers it will eliminate the source of their living. That’s why some of them start to act more aggressively and look for new ways of making money.
At the center of the story is the Slovakian family Krajnik whose source of income is smuggling. From the beginning, it’s clear that the head of that family is an older woman, Anna. Her son Adam seems to rule over a small gang, when in actuality it’s all run by Anna. When the Iron Curtain fell, Anna took advantage of her relationship with powerful people from both sides of the Slovak-Ukrainian border and started an alcohol, gasoline, and cigarette business. Later her only son Adam takes over this “family business”. He bribes the police and smuggles mostly cigarettes to Austria. He even has a special name for this operation: “Cancer is headed to Austria”. Despite the illegal activity, Adam creates his own moral code and refuses to smuggle crystal meth through Slovak-Ukrainian border even after the crime boss of a Ukrainian gang, Krull, threatens to end his business. Adam tries to concentrate on trafficking Afghani refugees to the EU through the woods. Meanwhile Adam’s 18-year old daughter, the gorgeous Lucia, falls in love with a handsome youngster, Ivor. Because of her pregnancy, Adam, who is against the union, has to give in and give his blessing for marriage. It seems that happiness is on its way but life has its own plans.
Peter Babjak’s movie tells the story of people who struggle to survive and urges people to live their life according to their own moral code. Despite the presence of violence, it’s not an ordinary crime thriller about the mafia and gangsters. The filmmakers show the audience the dramatic life of people who participate in illegal activity, not neglecting to show its humorous side. The outstanding performances of the Slovakian and Ukrainian actors help create characters who are not only truthful but also worthy of sympathy from the audience. With very impressive cinematography depicting authentic small-town celebrations, dark forests and people smoking cigarettes (including children), the story permanently evokes a lot of different senses to the word “line”. If you liked “Animal Kingdom” and Emir Kustirica’s movies, most likely you will like this movie, too.