2021 / Released film

Law represents reliable structure of social relations. When this system is challenged, society and individuals are confronted with uncertainty and many surprises.

Law represents the fixed structure of social relations. When this system is questioned, society and individuals are confronted with uncertainties and many surprises. The contents of the encrypted mobile app Threema of Marian Kočner, one of the main actors in the murder case of journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée, revealed, among other things, a vast network of corrupt ties across the state administration and the judiciary. But with the scandalous revelations, hope for reflection and a cleansing of the justice system has begun. Slovakia is a country with a long-standing record of distrust in the judiciary – the film Ordeal shows first-hand the roots, reasons and horrific cases underlying these attitudes. At the same time, it follows closely the struggle at the highest levels of the judiciary and politics for ways and means of correcting…

In terms of theme and chronology, Zuzana Piussi follows her film The Disease of the Third Power (2011), in which she examined the deep corrosion of the Slovak judiciary after it was formally transferred to a paradoxically better institutional level – completely separated from the state and its self-government was introduced. This self-government, however, was seized from the start by the authoritarian judge Štefan Harabin, and through the accumulation of functions and the installation of his own people in key positions, the decline began. The trials that followed the murder of journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée have shown that there has been no improvement in the judiciary over the past period, which is reflected in the public’s perception of its credibility. It has also shown that the key problem with the judiciary is not the legislation or the equipment of the courts, but the staffing of the third power, which in many cases has become distant from justice.

  • Ordeal
  • Director: Zuzana Piussi
  • Idea: Katarína Javorčíková
  • Editor: Šimon Špidla
  • Cinematography: Miro Remo
  • Producer: Vít Janeček (D1film, CZ; VIRUSfilm, SK)
  • Co-producer: Ondrej Starinský (RTVS)
  • Poster: Marek Kianička


Image: Ordeal