Directed by Ivan Ostrochovský
Film Movement
80 Minutes
Slovakia, Romania, Czech Republic, Ireland
Not Rated

The year is 1980. Michal and Juraj are students at a theological seminary in totalitarian Czechoslovakia. Fearing the dissolution of their school, the tutors are molding the seminarians into a shape satisfactory to the ruling Communist Party. Each of the young students must decide if he will give into the temptation and choose the easier way of collaborating with the regime, or if he will subject himself to draconian surveillance by the secret police.

Director & Cast




  • "[A] brilliantly crafted, atmospherically enveloping seminary drama."
    Guy Lodge, Variety
  • "Ostrochovsky delivers a series of striking visual images, often from unusual overhead angles. Starting with the very first shot — which follows a car driving a forlorn road at night — his bold, confident strokes accumulate into a sharp portrait of restrained, stylish and brooding power."
    Neil Young, The Hollywood Reporter
  • "Servants is set in 1980, in the thick of communist Czechoslovakia during the Cold War era; however Ivan Ostrochovsky’s insidiously flinty, supremely assured and chillingly stylish second feature spins a story which is of utmost relevance today. [T]his is an unsettling rebuke of government control and ideological manipulation — as well as a sharp cry against compliance with the prevailing status quo."
    Sarah Ward, Screen Daily
  • "[A]n impressionistic work of sharp beauty and cutting political insight."
    Redmond Bacon, Cultured Vultures
  • "[A] period piece which often takes on shades of a film noir. Poetically photographed and tinged by dueling metaphors of the sacred and profane...."
    Nicholas Bell, Ion Cinema
  • "This is an austere and laudable drama enhanced by its stunning visual allure.... Servants is true to the spirit of Bresson...."
    Meredith Taylor, Filmuforia
  • "the most impressive thing about Servants is how Ostrochovský has managed to sustain the unrelenting tension and uncertainty throughout...."
    Vladan Petkovic, Cineuropa
  • "[I]mpressive, filled with striking cinematography ...."
    Daniel Lammin, Makes the Switch