24th Finále - Festival of Czech Films
April 17 - 23, 2011
Pilsen / Czech Republic
Finále is a competitive and comprehensive overview of Czech feature-length films. Some years ago the Czech documentary competition was also introduced. During one week, the complete full-length feature film production and a selection of the most successful and interesting documentaries will be screened in traditional screening venues. The whole film week is completed by screenings of further Czech films in various sections and retrospectives, accompanied by discussions with interesting filmmakers.
Andrej Krob na tahu , Czech Republic, 2010, 52 min, Digi Beta, Arts and Culture, Portrait
A collage featuring the highly individual theatre director Andrej Krob, who on his seventieth birthday makes joyous use of free travel on public transport. This man of many professions visits the important places in his life:the Theatre on the Balustrade, the zoo and the former pub in Horní Počernice where, in 1975, he produced Havel's play The Beggar's Opera. During his wanderings, accompanied by photographer Bohdan Holomíček, he meets friends and random travellers. He explains how he sees Beckett's and Havel's absurdity, holds a rehearsal with members of his company and, at his cottage in Hrádeček, reminisces about the garden parties that were held there.
Cesta zpět po spálených mostech , Czech Republic, 2010, 26 min, Digi Beta, DV, DVD, HD, Philosophy, Portrait, Religion
A portrait of two people who have decided to live outside the bustle of civilisation and spent time in communities of nuns and monks. The first is Katka, who remembers the environment in the community of the Nuns of Bethlehem in the Savoy Alps. Having entered in 2001, attracted by the silence and opportunity to concentrate, in the end she left voluntarily. The film's second soulful protagonist is Miroslav, who talks about life among the Cistercians, the meaning of celibacy and the reasons why he left the ascetic order. This mediation on non-conformist existences and everyday miracles culminates in a surprising ending.
Cinematerapie , Czech Republic, 2010, 108 min, 35 mm, Portrait, Society
Living in the age of reality TV, in a society hungry for sensation, it is easy to feed on the highly emotional stories of people whose futures are being shaped by dozens of professionals. "Cinematherapy" takes a slightly different approach. A commercial aired on Czech Television invited viewers to attend a casting and tell their stories. Later on, eleven of them underwent cinematherapy – provided by the camera as an intermediary between them and the outside world. Blurring the lines between feature film, documentary and reality show, the film does not offer the participants a plastic surgery or a reunion with a long lost friend but lets them witness their often bizarre lives and thus move forward in dealing with their issues.
Drnovické catenaccio , Czech Republic, 2010, 57 min, 8 mm, Digi Beta, Creative, Politics, Society
Located near the South Moravian town of Vyškov, the small village of Drnovice boasts a football stadium for ten thousand fans. It is a pyramid of a long-lost football civilization that used to be ruled by famous names. The rise and fall of the local football club is typical for Czech football, politics and business of the 1990s, revealing not only beautiful goals but also mysterious sponsors, corruption or doping. This film takes us back to a time when top ministry officials had no clue about huge financial scams and when Czech footballers were in the game for the European Championship title.
Katka , Czech Republic, 2010, 90 min, 35 mm, HD, Creative, Longitudinal, Portrait
Helena Třeštíková's film is a remarkable documentary tracing fourteen years in the life of a young junkie and her futile battle with drug addiction. Why did she start taking drugs? She claims she wanted to be different. The year is 1996 and 19-year-old Katka lives in the Sananim therapy community in the town of Němčice with hope for a normal life – she dreams of having a boyfriend and even a family, some day. But there's no happy ending. The director records Katka's descent over the years into a spiral of theft, prostitution, physical and psychological deterioration – a spiral that is broken only by brief flashes of hope and resolutions to stop taking drugs. Katka's desire is sincere, but in the end drugs always win. Will Katka finally find the strength when she becomes pregnant and motherhood offers her life-sustaining motivation?
Když kámen promluví , Czech Republic, 2010, 75 min, Digi Beta, DVD, Portrait
A portrait of Czech actor, esotericist and layman philosopher Jaroslav Dušek. The film was shot in the course of one year and it captures Dušek during rehearsals, meetings with people with mental disability, dolphins, in his communication with stones, construction of an environmentally-friendly clay house, etc.
Konopné pašije , Czech Republic, 2010, 40 min, Health
This polemical mosaic, framed by biblical ornamentation, takes a critical look at the rigid Czech laws that allow the prosecution of those who grow hemp for medical purposes. Taking up the cause of the Dvořáks, a husband and wife who allegedly grow drugs on a farm close to Olomouc, it documents the absurdity of the police raids and court sentences that end up harming sick people. Some of them describe in detail how hemp preparations have helped them deal with long-lasting health problems. The film introduces the civic association Hemp Is A Medicine, and describes the activity of popular musicians such as David Koller and Michal Ambrož who publicly promote the legalisation of banned substances.
Medvědí ostrovy , Czech Republic, 2010, 62 min, HD, Creative, Nature, Reportage, Society
In "Bear Islands", director Martin Ryšavý continues his exploration of subjects related to the Sakha Republic, or Yakutia, Russia's Far Eastern Federal District. The film captures the life of residents in the remotest part of the territory, Nizhnekolymsky Ulus. Bear Islands are located in the East Siberian Sea at the mouth of the Kolyma River. The camera follows park rangers who take care of the nature reserve as they travel to an isolated polar station through the vast space where the past meets the present. A portrait of a landscape, its history and people who inhabit it.
Nebe peklo , Czech Republic, 2010, 84 min, Digi Beta, HD, Personal View, Portrait, Society
Heaven Hell is a full-length documentary film project dealing with human diversity that doesn't necessarily lead to hell even though it might seem like that from the outsider's point of view. It is an attempt to defend even very extreme notions of freedom if such notions are well-founded and lead to new horizons of human understanding. The film portrays people who have found pleasure in pain and decided not to hide this passion, or at least not to suppress and deny it any more. These people either inflict pain or demand it from others, but they do not force anyone to do anything. This closed society is often labelled by its members as BDSM.
Nejtěžší volba , Czech Republic, 2010, 57 min, Beta SP, Health, Personal View, Social Issues
A documentary looking at the lives of four women and their partners who have refused abortions after discovering they are expecting handicapped children. The author captures their reactions on learning of their babies' state of health, and the way in which they come to terms with the doctors' prognoses and their own feelings of hopelessness. One of the children dies before birth, another during birth, while another lives for only an hour after birth. The daughter of the fourth couple has Down's syndrome, and her mother describes how those around her reacted to the handicap. The key scene in this collective portrait, which grows into an existential drama concerning life and death, takes place at the grave of one of the dead children, on the Říp hill.
Nesvatbov , Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, 2010, 72 min, Digi Beta, HD, Creative, Society
A situational documentary film about a village mayor trying to match local people in their thirties who are still single. Slowly but surely, the Slovak village Zemplínské Hámre is dying out. Its mayor, a retired general, doesn't want to give up though. Fighting the thirty-year-olds' loneliness, he has used various means such as offering a financial reward for each newborn child or encouraging people to make children in the local public address system. None of it has worked. However, the mayor has a new plan. He decides to organize a dating party for singles from all the neighbouring villages...
Nikomu jsem neublížil , Czech Republic, 2011, 57 min, Politics, Society
An investigative mosaic which looks, from various angles at the issue of collaboration with the Communist-era secret police. The key figure is the author's friend, Jaroslav Kolář, who describes his own case. He explains what led him to cooperate with the secret police, and how he coped when his activities were revealed after November 1989. Three former secret policemen also talk about the techniques that were used to gain agents. The film also looks at the cases of well-known cultural figures, such as artist Joška Skalník, who experienced secret police practices at first hand. It confronts the architects of the totalitarian machinery with their victims, and considers the issue of guilt and penitence for past sins.
Poválečné dějiny Československa , Czech Republic, 2010, 9 min, History, Society, Youth Documentary
A nine-minute novelty made by fourth-year documentary film students which takes a sarcastic look at the cut-and-dried way in which the country's recent history is taught in schools, and the superficial way in which it is perceived by the younger generation. A lively teacher is questioning an impotent guest on what things were like under Communism. As part of "learning through play," Milada Horáková is shown as a paper figure, and the details of her execution are demonstrated. The activities of dissidents are portrayed by means of a banal pub scene. A long-haired member of the underground relates a funny anecdote from Havel's country cottage... The closing titles take the form of an impersonal questionnaire.
Půlnoc , Czech Republic, 2010, 40 min, HD, Environmental, Society, Youth Documentary
An essay on sources of light, the meaning of darkness and light pollution, with several layers of interwoven meaning. In one of them the author describes her experiences during an experiment in which she was shut up in total darkness. Another layer of the film describes the activity of "darkers" who interrupt electricity supplies and then have fun recording the spectacular results of their "ecoattacks." This polemical collage also points out how terribly dependent humans are on electricity, and how much of it they waste. One of the most interesting passages in this imaginative mosaic on the crisis of current civilisation is a meditation by Václav Bartuška on the limits of progress.
Sny o tátovi , Czech Republic, 2010, 58 min, Digi Beta, History, Politics
A mysterious collage on the monster trial of the 1950s, one of whose victims was the weak-current electricity expert Alfréd Plocek. His tragic fate is uncovered by his granddaughter Lucie, who, through archive documents, discovers the shocking details of Communist lawlessness. This collage of totalitarian crimes, which emphasises the need for repentance, also uses some acted scenes. One of them reconstructs Plocek's last visit from relatives before he was executed in November 1951. The second part of the film looks at the public prosecutor who sent an innocent man to his death, and whose daughter Plocek's granddaughter subsequently meets.
Sokol de Paris , Czech Republic, France, 2010, 18 min, Society, Youth Documentary
An ironic sketch, made as an exercise in the first year of the master's programme in the department of documentary film making at FAMU film school in Prague. It follows a ceremony held by the Sokol organisation - the traditional Czech physical education movement - in a French village near Paris. The traditional exercises, including gymnastics and marching, are accompanied by the cooking of traditional Czech food and its mass consumption. The singing of the Czech national anthem, the laying of wreaths on a monument and other ceremonial rituals form a grotesque contrast to the good things cooking in huge pots, the bottles of beer and the remains left on the plates... This investigation of displays of patriotism in a curious place and an obscure context ends in a mass pose by all the participants in the ceremony.
Tantra , Czech Republic, 2010, 80 min, Digi Beta, HD, Society
Sex is our lifelong companion. Tantra reveals a way to utilise the potential of sexual energy for personal development, to cultivate sexuality and to use its energy in all spheres of life. Tantra can become a discovery journey and awakening of hidden possibilities of improving the life potential - and certainly not only in terms of sexual power. Similarly to the so called family constellations or sexual coaching, the interest in tantric teaching is increasing dramatically. In the same way, however, a distorted perception of tantra is growing rapidly and the majority of the society stigmatises its followers. Therefore it is necessary to seek answers to questions that arise in connection with tantra and its practice.
Vše pro dobro světa a Nošovic , Czech Republic, 2010, 82 min, 35 mm, Creative, Personal View, Social Issues
An original portrait of a Czech village that houses a giant car plant built by South Korea's Hyundai. Before the village turned into an industrial zone, many of the landowners had no intention of selling their plots of land... Not until many of them faced pressure from their neighbours who had accepted approx. EUR 4000 in compensation and not until they received death threats. Using nine protagonists, the film paints a portrait of a village changed beyond recognition. A humorous yet compelling film about a field that yields cars.
Zabíjení po česku , Czech Republic, 2010, 57 min, Beta SP, History, Society
The film attempts to shed some light on the post-war massacre in Postoloprty, in which 763 local German residents died. Nobody was punished after the war. This film captures the tragic event through the eyes of direct witnesses who travel to Postoloprty from Germany, a police officer who pushed on with the investigation, the dead victims or young playwright Miroslav Bambušek who wrote a play based on the event. One of the witnesses to the massacre would like to build a memorial in the fateful place. The film might also follow another line that would explore the reactions of a small town that refuses to acknowledge the dark blemish in its history.
Zle, matičko, zle, Schwarzenberci zde! , Czech Republic, 2010, 57 min, Beta SP, Politics, Portrait, Society
A portrait of Karel Schwarzenberg, introduced by an animated passage in which the Czech politician recapitulates the history of his aristocratic family. The current foreign minister (born 1937) describes his life, including his childhood on the family's Czech estate, and their move to Austria after the Communist revolution. A number of his colleagues then discuss Schwarzenberg's remarkable personality, including the director of his Vienna office. Martin C. Putna casts light on the meaning of the nobility's existence, while Ivan M. Jirous expresses, in eccentric style, his gratitude to the prince for his cheap accommodation. At the close of the film, the charismatic politician with strong social feelings considers the subject of European integration.
Finále Plzeň o.p.s.