Film and video production


Kocbek, A Poet in the Abyss of History

Edvard Kocbek okrog 1975Genre: full-length documentary film
Duration: 90 min
Year: 2004
Screenplay: Helena Koder
Director: Miran Zupanič
Associate: dr. Andrej InkretFeaturing: Viktor Blažič, dr. France Bučar, Ervin Frit, dr. Mihael Glavan, Janez Gradišnik, Janez Stanovnik, dr. Spomenka Hribar, dr. Andrej Inkret, Jurij Kocbek, Matjaž Kocbek, Tone Pavček, dr. Janko Kos, dr. Edvard Kovač, Peter Kovačič Peršin, Pino Mlakar, Vinko Ošlak, Boris Pahor, Jože Penca, Alojz Rebula, dr. Franc Rode in dr. Peter Vodopivec.




When the reader with a little historical memory or knowledge, goes after Edvard Kocbek’s (1904 – 1981) work, he suddenly, willingly or unwillingly, together with the poet finds himself immersed in history. Why is reader by reading diaries, essays, short stories and even poems forced in a historical dialogue with the author?
Slovenian nation entered the twentieth century with no democratic experience, laden with the undefined heritage of clericalism and modest freethinking tradition. Marked by two totalitarian regimes, fascism and communism, Kocbek’s era is replete with traumatic moments, significant events and fateful decisions. Kocbek did not only strongly react to them, but in his creative zeal also activated them. Thus, his artistic, intellectual and political destiny is closely linked with all the knots and wounds of the nation’s recent history, with all the issues on which we have not yet received full answers. This somehow makes difficult ‘literary’ approach to its work and force the reader to evaluate the role of the poet in Slovenian history.
It seems we know a lot about Kocbek: after all here are his diaries and collected works, which were carefully edited and well commented by Dr. Andrej Inkret. He found, so to say, all relevant material written about Kocbek, including his private letters and Communist Party and UDBA (Yugoslavian secret police) minutes. Dr. Andrej Inkret found all material, which was accessible. But those diaries, which disappeared from the poet’s locked apartment one summer, were aperently lost into the police archives. We can only hope not forever.
All accessible material were available for the present film. A special feature of the film – and maybe this is an advantage – lies in the fact that we had to use this complex and rich substance in a limited time, ninety minutes. More than that: to all collected material we added testimonials of many Kocbek’s contemporaries: sons, friends, acquaintances, poets and historical interpreters. And also the testimony of his most faithful friend, the writer Boris Pahor. And here is the resulting story of Kocbek’s sinking into history.
This story is made with a single purpose: to release us from the prevailing historical notions and reveal Kocbek at his best. As a poet. In this poet also exists a politician and a moralist, an intellectual and a mystic, an ascetic and a lustful, in short, if I am expressed as a poet, entire Kocbek’s human being. Increasingly, it appears that this is the man who once upon a time, at the beginning of its journey, laid under the night sky and whispered to comrades, “I’m bagging you, weight me with heavy stones, or I will hastily fall from earth to the universe!



Screenplay: Helena Koder
Director: Miran Zupanič
Professional associate: Dr. Andrej Inkret
Director of photography: Aleš Belak
Editor: Vojko Polić
Music selected by: Miha Vardjan
Sound designers: Drago Kočiš, Andrej Knaflič
Producer: Franci Zajc


Viktor Blažič
dr. France Bučar
Ervin Fritz
dr. Mihael Glavan
Janez Gradišnik
dr. Spomenka Hribar
dr. Andrej Inkret
Jurij Kocbek
Matjaž Kocbek
dr. Janko Kos
dr. Edvard Kovač
Peter Kovačič Peršin
Pino Mlakar
Vinko Ošlak
Boris Pahor
Tone Pavček
Jože Penca
Alojz Rebula
dr. Franc Rode
Janez Stanovnik
dr. Peter Vodopivec
Data on Edvard Kocbek also contributed: Dr. Stane Gabrovec, Božena Glavak, Dr.Vekoslav Grmič, Tone Kuntner, Vasja Predan, Dr. Janko Prunk and Dane Zajc.

Miran Zupanič

Born in 1961. He graduated in law and film and television directing from University of Ljubljana. He works as a university professor of film directing. He directs documentary and feature films. His feature films Operation Cartier and Radio.doc participated in many international film festivals and received several awards. Operation Cartier was awarded the Circom Regional Grand Prix Fiction in 1992 and Circom Regional Award in 1992 for Best Direction while in 1995 Radio.doc was awarded the Golden Metod Badjura Award.


1990 –Operation Cartier, television feature film
1993 –The Eyes of Bosnia, documentary film
1995 – Radio.doc, television feature film
2001 –Rascals!, feature film
2003 –Separations, documentary film
2004 –Kocbek-A poet in the Abyss of History, documentary film


RTV Slovenia


Slovenian Ministry of Culture

Technical data

Format: IMX, color
Festivals and awards
Festivals and awards
• Academy Award »Viktor« for Best Television Documentary in 2004.



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