Juraj Jakubisko

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Juraj Jakubisko
Juraj Jakubisko - profile photo.jpg
Jakubisko in 2015
Born (1938-04-30) 30 April 1938 (age 84)
Alma materFilm and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts (FAMU)

Juraj Jakubisko (born 30 April 1938) is a Slovak film director. He has directed fifteen feature films, between 1967 and 2008. He often takes the dual role of cinematographer, and is often also credited as a screenplay writer as he usually co-writes or writes the scripts of his movies. In 2000 he was named Best Slovak Director of the 20th century by film critics and journalists.[1] His work is often described as magical realism.[1]


Before entering the film industry, Jakubisko taught still photography at a secondary school for applied arts in Bratislava,[1] and worked for a television company in Košice. In 1960 he moved to Prague where he attended the Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts (FAMU), studying film direction under Václav Wasserman.[1] He graduated in 1965 and began working with Alfréd Radok at the Laterna Magika theatre in Prague. He began winning international acclaim with his experimental short films before making his first feature Crucial Years (Slovak: Kristove roky) in 1967. This film won a FIPRESCI award and a Josef von Sternberg Award in Mannheim, Germany.[1] His next film, Deserters and Pilgrims, won the Little Lion award for young artists at the Venice Film Festival.[1]

Jakubisko's career was heavily impacted by political events in Czechoslovakia, with his work facing censorship in the period following the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact invasion in response to the Prague Spring. During the "normalization" period which followed, he made a few documentaries, but no major feature films.[1] He filmed Three Sacks of Cement and a Live Rooster (Slovak: Tri vrecia cementu a živý kohút) in 1976, but it was not released until 1978.

He returned to feature film-making in 1979 with Build a House, Plant a Tree (Slovak: Postav dom, zasaď strom), which was nonetheless banned for its anti-regime messages, but not before it received a positive reception at a film festival in Amsterdam.[1] The success in Amsterdam proved invigorating for Jakubisko's work,[1] leading to a fertile period, culminating in the 1983 epic The Millennial Bee (Slovak: Tisícročná včela). This movie was a huge success, selling out cinemas for many weeks after its release and winning awards at film festivals in Sevilla and Venice. The film was later named the best film of the 1980s by Czechoslovakian journalists.[1]

In 1985, Jakubisko directed a children's film, The Feather Fairy, featuring Giulietta Masina, the wife of Federico Fellini, with whom Jakubisko also had a close friendship.[1] His film Sitting on a Branch, Enjoying Myself, released three months before the end of the communist regime in Czechoslovakia, won Jakubisko more international acclaim, including the Grand Prize at the Moscow International Film Festival in 1990.[1] 1990 also saw the belated release of Jakubisko's surrealist political horror, See You In Hell, My Friends, which had been banned 20 years earlier by communist censors.[1]

Jakubisko and his wife relocated to Prague following the dissolution of Czechoslovakia in 1993, and set up a production company, Jakubisko films. Jakubisko's next feature film was An ambiguous report about the end of the world (1997), a satirical comedy based on the prophecies of Nostradamus. The film won four Czech Lion awards.[1] In 1998 Jakubisko joined the European Film Academy, and was also awarded with the Maverick Award by the Taos Talking Pictures Film Festival.[1] In 2000 he was named Best Slovak Director of the 20th century by film writers, and won the Golden Seal in Belgrade for his contribution to world cinema.[1]

In June 2001 he was appointed as a lecturer at FAMU, his alma mater, and was awarded with a lifetime achievement award by the Masaryk Academy of Art in Prague.[1] In 2002 he received a Czech Lion for artistic achievement and received the Pribina Cross from the Slovak government, a special award given to those who have aided in the economic, social or cultural development of Slovakia.[1] His next feature was Post Coitum (2004), a comedy about love starring Franco Nero.[1]


2008 saw the release of Bathory, starring Anna Friel as Elizabeth Báthory, a 16th-17th century Hungarian countess, often claimed to be one of history's most prolific mass murderers. She was reputed to have bathed in the blood of young Slovak women. Famke Janssen was originally cast in the title role.

In addition to being Jakubisko's first English-language film, Bathory was reported to be the most expensive motion picture production in the history of Czech or Slovak cinema,[citation needed] involving investment from numerous companies around Europe.

In 2007 it was reported that two former production staff members, Jan Milic and Karel Lupomesky, had stolen a copy of the film from studios in Prague and were threatening to release it on the Internet if they were not given £12,000. They were soon apprehended and the film was recovered, apparently without being released online. The pair were found guilty and received eight and ten month suspended sentences for attempted blackmail of producer Deana Jakubisková-Horváthová.

The world premiere of Bathory was held at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival, Czech Republic on 10 July 2008. The film was named the most successful film of all time in Slovakia.

Later activities[edit]

In May 2012 he received a heart transplant in Prague.[2]

In 2013 Jakubisko published the first part of his autobiography, Živé stříbro.

He is currently working on a fairy tale, a sequel of The Feather Fairy. The film is scheduled for a theatrical release in winter 2022.[3]

He has been living for many years in Prague.[citation needed]



Jakubisko has been awarded at more than eighty international film festivals.

Awards for specific films[edit]

Year Film Festival/Awarding Body Location Award(s)
1984 The Millennial Bee 22nd Festival of Czechoslovak Film Banská Bystrica, Czechoslovakia • Grand Prize
4th Sevilla Film Festival Sevilla, Spain • Grand Prize
FEST Belgrade Belgrade, Yugoslavia • UNICEF Prize
40th Venice Film Festival Venice, Italy • Golden Phoenix for Best Art Direction and Cinematography
• Czechoslovak Journalists’ Prize
1985 The Feather Fairy 41st Venice Film Festival Venice, Italy • Catholic Prize
1986 The Feather Fairy Gijón International Film Festival Gijón, Spain • Jury Prize for Best Special Effects
42nd Venice Film Festival Venice, Italy • Certificate of Merit RAI II
Belgrade Film Festival Belgrade, Yugoslavia • Audience Prize for Best Film
4th Film Festival for yought Lyon Lyon, France • Young Audience Member's Prize for Best Film
24th Festival of Czechoslovak Film Banská Bystrica, Czechoslovakia • Prize for Art production
Zlín Film Festival Zlín, Czechoslovakia • Special Jury Prize
Bratislava, Slovakia • Slovak Film Medal
1987 The Feather Fairy International Film Festival Rimouski Rimouski, Quebec • Grand Prize Camerio
1st International Film Festival for Children Buenos Aires, Argentina • Grand Prize
1989 Sitting on a Branch, Enjoying Myself Venice Film Festival Venice, Italy • Certificate of Merit RAI II
1990 Sitting on a Branch, Enjoying Myself Strasbourg Film Festival Strasbourg, France • Le Prix du Jury
• Alsace Media de Strasbourg Prize
Festival of Czechoslovak Film Banská Bystrica, Czechoslovakia • Special Jury Prize
Moscow International Film Festival Moscow, Soviet Union • Grand Prize
1993 It's Better to Be Wealthy and Healthy Than Poor and Ill 9th Festroia International Film Festival Setúbal, Portugal • Grand prize (Golden Dolphin)
1997 An ambiguous report about the end of the world Flaiano Prizes Pescara, Italy • Best Director
• Golden Dolphin
1998 An ambiguous report about the end of the world Slovak Literary Fund • Special prize for Direction
San Diego Film Festival San Diego, United States • Prize for Best Direction
Montreal World Film Festival Montreal, Canada • Prize for the Greatest Artistic Contribution and Cinematography of the Year
Taos Talking Pictures Film Festival Taos, United States • Prize for visual contribution in cinematography
1999 Sitting on a Branch, Enjoying Myself Cran Gavier '99 France • Best film
2001 Wild Flowers Czech Lion Awards 2000 Czech Republic • Best film poster
2009 Bathory Art Film Fest Trenčianske Teplice, Slovakia • Igric Award (Award for the Artistic Design of the Film)
Czech Lion Awards 2008 Czech Republic • Best artistic asset of the year
• Best artist and artistic concept
2010 Bathory Sun in a Net Awards Slovakia • Best artistic design
Monaco Charity Film Fest Monaco • Best Artistic achievement

Other recognition[edit]

Year Awarding Body Location Award
1991 AFI Fest Los Angeles, United States • Tribute award
1998 Taos Talking Pictures Film Festival Taos, United States • Maverick Award For Vision in Film
21st Denver Film Festival Denver, United States • Outstanding achievement In the Art of Film
Czech Literary Fund Czech Republic • Best director of the year
2000 Yugoslavian Cinematheque Belgrade, Serbia • Golden Seal for Major Contribution To The Advancement Of Art In Film
2001 Masaryk Academy Of The Arts Prague, Czech Republic • Lifetime Achievement Award
2002 10th Art Film Fest Trenčianske Teplice, Slovakia • Golden Camera award for outstanding achievements in cinematography and lifetime artistic contributions to Slovak Cinema
2003 Government of Slovakia Pribina Cross, Second Class
Czech Lion Awards 2002 Czech Republic • Personal award for outstanding achievements in cinematography and lifetime artistic contributions to Czech Cinema
2008 43rd Karlovy Vary International Film Festival Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic • Special Crystal Globe for outstanding achievements in cinematography and lifetime artistic contributions to World Cinema
2009 Associazione Culturale Premio Elsa Morante Portugal • Premia Elsa Morante, Cinematography award
2012 Gijón International Film Festival Gijón, Spain • Personal award for outstanding achievements in cinematography and lifetime artistic contributions to world Cinema



  • Paris (2000), France
  • Berlin (2004),Germany, Italy (2004)
  • Prague (2004, 2005), Czech Republic
  • Miro Gallery, Bratislava (2009), Slovakia
    • Presidential palace, Bratislava (2009), Slovakia
  • 6 exhibitions (2010), Czech Republic


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s "Juraj Jakubisko". Ceska Televize. Retrieved 15 February 2018.
  2. ^ "Jakubisko podstoupil transplantaci srdce, zřejmě jako nejstarší pacient". iDNES.cz (in Czech). 2012-05-14.
  3. ^ Jakubisko finišuje Perinbabu 2: Zahrála si i Verešová a oživená mrtvá italská legenda!, blesk.cz.
  4. ^ Kevin Brochet, "Juraj Jakubisko: A Thousand-Year Old Bee (Tisícročná včela) 1983."
  5. ^ "Andrew James Horton, "Juraj Jakubisko's Sedim na konari a je mi dobre."". Archived from the original on 2013-05-30. Retrieved 2007-10-22.

External links[edit]