Kurent is one of the local Slavic deities, dating back to the pre-Christian period, a time when
people still felt a strong connection with nature, with day and night, with the sun and the
moon. A time, when it mattered whether anything would grow, so that we would have food on
our tables, and when our survival was a matter of Nature’s mercy. Nature’s whims and our
uncertainty were the reason for the rise of various beliefs and actions aimed at a better, more
Kurent is said to have an important mission. With his demonic face and divine character, his
task is to drive away winter, misery and hunger, and bring in spring, abundance, fertility of
the soil. He has received a great deal of attention in our area. The Church has always sought
to defeat his importance and misplace him into the frivolous time of the carnival, when people
have fun and do silly things.
Young men have always liked to dress up as Kurents, step into costumes they had inherited
from their ancestors, and go on a quest to find the spring, Vesna, to find their love, to bless
the fields and announce a good harvest. But human nature has managed to disappoint
many times on these journeys. The divine mission often changed into human ruthlessness.
The change was followed by brawls due to arrogance and possessiveness, fights over girls,
drunkenness, and even rapes, as everything was possible underneath the mask.
The annual search for spring is a ritual that holds an important meaning. It is the search for
love, an appeal for nature’s generosity, a call for the sun and rain to replace the snow, cold
and winter slumber.
The Kurent’s calling was not only devalued by the Catholic Church, but also by
commercialization and the modern lifestyle, which prevents us from keeping in touch with
nature, with the earth, as we no longer have to produce our own food – instead we immerse
ourselves into the abundance of shopping centers, where there is no difference between
spring, summer, autumn and winter. Everything is available and the yearning for authenticity
and for being in touch with ourselves and with nature is fading away. Meanwhile, the
Kurent’s hair is growing. Growing, so that he would become ever more beautiful, majestic,
lustful, important, manly in the eyes of many – and one cannot help but wonder whether the
Kurent even realizes that in order to become whole and complete, he must find Vesna, the
goddess of spring, he must find true love.
I have decided to try and awaken this fundamental meaning of the Kurent and create a ritual
cleansing of the Kurent with a creative team. We will cut his hair, trim his fur, take away his
power, all in an attempt to help him look within himself and rediscover his true value and his
true calling. He may be able to feel his love for Vesna – the spring that awakens inside him
year after year – once again. Their bond will undoubtedly bring a good harvest, happiness
and satisfaction to our land … perhaps even a moral, ethical transformation, a better man
and a better society.
Author of the project | Stanka Vauda Benčevič
Film | Directing | Cinematography | Editing | Colour Grading | Markus Nylaander
Collaborators in the creation of the idea of cleansing the Kurent | Dušan Fišer | Markus Nylaander
Lyrics | Zdenko Kodrič
Music | Boštjan Gombač | Žiga Golob
Vesna (voice) | Janja Majzelj
Double bass (Winter) | Žiga Golob
Flute (Spring) | Boštjan Gombač
Kurent (film) | Ivan Mijačevič
Vesna (film) | Anja Vičar
Sponsors | GEOPLIN d.o.o., ALBIN PROMOTION d.o.o., A ATALANTA film + video production & services
Entire creative team | Igor Benčevič, Mateja Lapuh, Milan Vinkler, Damjana Mlinarič,
Franjo Rozman, Robert Polajžar, Peter Zmazek, Ma'ayan Danoch, Sabina Rojko, Radica &
Krešo Benčevič, Stanko & Rozika Vauda, Toni Hazdovac … Thank you!
A bird falls on your bell: the planet trembles.
Soil falls on your fur: dewdrops come to eat at your feet.
Shadow falls on your tongue: the eye flickers in a web of dreams.
Snow falls on your horn: the universe acts like a hole.
Feathers fall on your mouth: an earthquake stops time.
A handkerchief falls on your boots: a golden signal of the girls.
Rain falls on your thoughts: a child is born into the light,
And is all together bird, soil, shadow, snow and feathers, handkerchief, rain
and – divine honey.