Tepuy - A Journey To The Dephts Of The Earth - About the film

The film documentary TEPUY is a thrilling story that takes place deep in the middle of the Orinduik rainforest in Venezuela. Thank to its almost absolute inaccessibility, prehistoric forms of life have been preserved here that have survived for millions of years. In the gigantic labyrinth of the world’s oldest rocks, colonies of bizarre organisms have built the largest quartzite cave in the world. A team of Slovak and Czech cavers and enthusiasts set out on a risky expedition to this time depository that has never before been entered by humans... Inside massive underground spaces, they discover a lost world. However, they find more questions than answers

Script, photography, direction: Pavol Barabáš
Editing: Matej Beneš
Music: Michal Novinski
Length: 64 min.
Year of production: 2006
Distributor: SPI International Czech Rep. & Slovakia
Medium: HDV, 35 mm film

Did you ever try to make a step towards the unknown?

The film Tepuy is an attempt to shoot what discovery is really about. For me, it was a new dimension. A dimension of darkness, obscurity and mysticism. Basically, a completely new world than what I knew then. My intention was to give the chance to viewers to experience with me the discovery of an unknown cave and to feel, together with us, as if they themselves were involved in the mysteries that we came across. I also wanted viewers to feel as though they were taking part in the problems that a discoverer must solve at every step. It’s a film about the obsession that one is infected with when revealing the unknown as well as about the feeling of hopelessness, exhaustion, danger of diseases and apathy that we felt when we were just about to make a discovery, but didn’t feel like going further as we had had enough of it. I remember how, when we were on the edge of breakdown, Braňo persuaded us into another attempt: Suddenly, it was as if we had just come to life. We abseiled 80 metres into a deep canyon full of huge plants and using a machete we reached the opening of a new cave that we later called the Hell Hole. As late as when we were deep within its bowels, we realized that it is too big for human perceptions. We felt really strange as we came across mysterious forms of life that have been vegetating here undisturbed for billions of years, but the discovery drove us further into the depths. We began to feel sick from the moulds in the cave and we didn’t know whether we would get to safety, which was too far away from the places underground. I appreciate every shot that I managed to take down there in the cave. Nothing in here is staged, fabricated or fictively added. No made-up actors, only the bitter reality of a caver’s life, rough and at the same time incomprehensible. If a viewer in a cinema manages to feel in himself the real feelings of the characters wandering in the bowels of the Table Mountains, which according to scientists should not be there at all, he may experience something that has not yet been offered by any other documentary from under the ground.

- Pavol Barabáš

Filming location