THE VALLEY OF PEACE by France Štiglic
(82 min, Yugoslavia/Slovenia, B&W, 1957 (restored version 2016), Slovenian + German spoken, English + French subtitles)
For the first time ever, Cannes Classics has selected a Slovenian film to be included in its program – a newly-restored version of France Štiglic’s VALLEY OF PEACE (DOLINA MIRU). Selected for the official competition in 1957, the film was awarded Best Actor for John Kitzmiller.
In THE VALLEY OF PEACE he plays the role of Sergeant Jim, whose fighter plane is shot down by the Germans. Trying to escape them, while partisans are looking to save him, he runs into 4-year old Lotti (Evelyne Wohlfeiler) and 9-year old Marko (Tugo Štiglic, the director’s son – now a filmmaker himself) who have just lost their families in the air-raid. They are looking for a valley where they were told it’s always peaceful, possibly the valley where Marko’s uncle has a house.
Sergeant Jim takes the shell-shocked children under his wings, even if it means risking discovery by the Germans. The uncle’s abandoned house is not the safe place they hoped it to be, as it becomes a battleground between the Germans and the partisans trying to save the sergeant, who urges the children to escape.