While the Slovakian New Wave art movement of the early 1980s may not be everyone’s topic of expertise, award-winning photographer and artist Martin Strba’s debut documentary provides a dazzling account of its remarkable inception and evolution. Strba meets with fellow founding artists to discuss the movement and its unique, liberal manifesto as the film unravels from a knotty, anarchic bombardment of opening sequences before budding into a masterpiece.

Strba’s fantastic film initially overwhelms due to its immediate barrage of interviews and images but transforms into a stern, flamboyant study, fashioned in a similar manner to the New Wave style itself: eloquently bleeding bleak, unique and germane visuals (partly influenced by the Brutalist architecture of the time) while instilling a sense of being within the “Slovak New Wave” community.

The frenetic editing echoes its punk ethos as we are introduced to the artists reflecting on their work. Some are now parents, authors and teachers while many remain close friends. We observe the opening of the first Czech museum of photography and the “Slovak New Wave” art exhibition. One artist converses with his children while another hangs a Chorizo from his ear and reflects on his time spent with one of the original members (Vasil) who tragically took his own life. Meanwhile close ups of plants, pets, relationships coalesce with fallen petals to inject a welcome naturalism within the unruly settings.

Abstract images smash via angry editing, laced with a jagged, experimental score. The sound of guitar riffs stabbing at the silence like invisible robot fists, contributes to the unreal air that meshes with the natural aspects. Conceptual photographs of light appear like landscapes of alien worlds reflecting how the artists perceive reality. While highlighting their detachment from social obedience and worth within a “cultural function”, Strba’s unforgettable film evolves from a mere account into an ostentatious rollercoaster ride through a mad punk nightmare.

The subject of bears getting drunk on fermented fruits arises in conversation between artists while others dance with vegetables and use wood as instruments. One studies a turtle and discusses its occult connections before biking off into one of his “relaxing zones”. All of these elements effectively mend to make Wave Vs Shore a magical, inspiring and beguiling work and an exhilarating experience that will astound, educate and mostly entertain. Some may be overwhelmed by the stark, oddball nature but surrender yourself to the anarchic fury and you will enjoy the ride.

Wave Vs Shore
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Daniel Goodwin is a prevalent film writer for multiple websites including HeyUGuys, Scream Horror Magazine, Little White Lies, i-D and Dazed. After studying Film, Media and Cultural Studies at university and Creative Writing at the London School of Journalism, Daniel went on to work in TV production for Hat Trick Productions, So Television and The London Studios. He has also worked at the Home Office, in the private office of Hilary Benn MP and the Coroner's and Burials Department, as well as on the Movies on Pay TV market investigation for the Competition Commission.