Worldly Children Piemule Jakub Old Believers The Rite of Spring Gyumri Lean a Ladder Against Heaven Those Who Dance in the Dark

Old Believers

46 min
Jana Ševčíková
Jana Ševčíková
Jana Ševčíková
Director of photography:
Jaromír Kačer
Lucie Haladová
Josef Valušiak
Pavel Dvořák, Jaroslav Jehlička, Petr Bohatý, Marek Musil, Michal Janoušek, Jiří Mergl, Pavel Sádek
Alan Vitouš, Pavel Markelov
Jana Ševčíková

Film was produced with support of The Czech Republic State Fund for Support and Development of Czech Cinematography.


A documentary which was filmed over a period of five years describing the spiritual roots of the inhabitants of a forsaken Romanian village in the Danubian basin. As descendants of Russian emigrants of a minority faith who settled in the area during the 17th century, they were able to preserve not only their original beliefs but also their language. Despite various changes in the villagers’ lives, time seems to have frozen the “natural” inflections of birth, marriage and death. The protagonists are bound by their strict religious faith, both imprisoned and exalted by the cyclical rhythm of religious festivals and daily rituals. These are, at the same time, a natural part of life in the village and give an inner sense to the most ordinary of tasks. Jaromír Kačer’s black-and-white camera creates a smooth composition highlighting the primeval spiritual gestures which transform the inhabitants’ daily grind into a symbolic deliberation on the transience of time.


Within the exceptional support from The Czech Republic State Fund for Support and Development of Czech Cinematography framework, a digitalization sample has been developed:

link to film:

Thanks to i/o post, a Czech coproduction company, input, a whole film digitalization has begun. Old Believers will soon be available in 4K/2K/HD quality, in movie theater format, VOD and TV format including Czech and English subtitles.

Screenings, festivals and awards

  • Mannheim-Heidelberg IFF, 2001 - Ecumenical Jury Special Mention
  • International Documentary Film Festival Jihlava, 2001
  • Cracow Film Festival, 2002 - Don Quixote Award
  • Telluride Film Festival, USA, 2002
  • Milano price for the best document
  • Margaret Mead Filmfestival 2002
  • Museum of Modern Art NY 2002
  • Harvard University 2002

Stills from the movie

Old Believers Old Believers Old Believers Old Believers

Others about the film