Last farewell to Slovak film director Juraj Jakubisk, March 4, 2023, St. Vít, Václav and Vojtěch, Prague.
Prague – Family and friends said goodbye today in Prague's St. Vitus Cathedral to Slovak director Juraj Jakubisko, who died on Friday, February 24 in Prague. He was 84 years old. The ceremony was for invitees only, the public could not enter the temple. Among those invited was family friend and former president Václav Klaus, who arrived with his wife Livia and gave a eulogy. Cardinal Dominik Duka celebrated the mass. The ceremony ended with a coffin covered in flowers, film strips and the black hat worn by the late director.
Representatives of Czech and Slovak culture took part in the farewell. Among the first came the director and cinematographer F. A. Brabec, who collaborated with Jakubisko on his film Bathory. According to Brabec, Jakubisko's visionaryness and insight and his ability to look at the world through different eyes will now be missed. “I think we are all very 'down to earth' here. Few people have managed to do what he did. He was able to poeticize the real world in such a way that it was much more interesting and creative,” Brabec told ČTK when he arrived for the mass.
Between personalities from cultural and social life were present. For example, directors Jiří Strach and Zdeněk Troška, Kateřina Žbirková, musicians Ondřej Soukup, Jaroslav Svěcený and Martin Kratochvíl, presenter and singer Martina Kociánová and actor Jaromír Nosek arrived.
Inside the cathedral, according to the ČTK reporter, Jakubiska's black-and-white photo was placed next to the coffin and wreaths were placed on the sides, among them, for example, from Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová, the Czech Ministry of Culture, and Slovak and Czech filmmakers. The wreath from the family was shaped like a movie camera. On five small screens before the funeral ceremony, excerpts from Jakubisk's films played, and the song Mój Bože performed by Katarína Knechtová from his film Bathory rang through the church.
After the mass, the former president Klaus took the floor, who was asked by Jakubisko's wife Deana Horváthová to give a eulogy. Today, in front of the mourners, he said that although he knew about Jakubiska's health problems, the news of his death surprised him. According to him, many present shared the director's difficult decade. His life hung in the balance several times, but he was still happy about his new heart (in May 2012, Jakubisko underwent a heart transplant at the Institute of Clinical and Experimental Medicine in Prague), said the former president. Even though we knew his condition was serious, we still tricked ourselves that he was immortal like his films, he stated. In his eulogy, he characterized Jakubiska as a great person, a wonderful director and a good friend. According to him, Jakubisko moved freely in space and time, which is why he reached into history in his films, and discovered for the audience things, events and personalities that they did not know or had no idea about.
At the end of the ceremony, she was taken out of the temple coffin to the sound of a piece from Jakubiska's fairy tale Perinbaba. The public then watched as she was loaded into the parked car in front of the cathedral.
For her, the entrance to the temple was closed approximately two hours before it was due to start. Foreigners who wanted to see the temple at that time were surprised that they could not get inside.
Jakubisko was one of the most famous Slovak artists and was nicknamed the “Slovak Fellini” or the “Fellini of the East”. During his career, he made several dozen feature films and documentaries. His best-known works include The Thousand-Year-Old Bee, Perinbaba, Vague News about the End of the World and Bathory. The release date of his latest film Perinbaba and two worlds has not yet been announced.