Theatre Svoboda portraits the life and work of the director’s grandfather, world-famous stage designer Josef Svoboda (1920–2002), who tried to juggle creative freedom, family life and political allegiances during the times of a communist regime. Svoboda was able to work for the top of world theatres, such as The Old Vic in London, The Metropolitan Opera in New York and La Scala in Milano. The film takes the viewer literally behind the scenes and reveals some of the secrets of Svoboda’s fascinating lifework through archive materials that have not been published yet.
Bye Bye Shanghai
Distinguished Czech documentarist Jana Boková, who lives in Argentina, decided for her latest film to find out exactly what the word "exile" means. Her first stop is Prague, where after a period of 40 years, she meets up with a friend, the philosopher Václav Belohradský. Their joint recollections of leaving Prague, at that time occupied by forces of Soviet Union, are deftly woven into high-quality archive footage. She also conducts a frank interview in Prague with the lightly intoxicated Vlasta Trešnák, who remembers his torture during the endless interrogations by the state secret police and the need to choose between prison and emigration. This highly personal film examines the lives of several Czech emigrants, including the director herself, considers the various aspects of emigration and reaches the conclusion that, once a person has been uprooted, he can never cultivate his native roots again. "In Paris Věra Linhartová once wrote an essay about the irresolvable nature of emigration. Once you're uprooted you can never take root again. That's true for me too. In recent years, something has been changing though. It's a different generation, people who didn't have to make tough decisions in 1968. The prejudice is disappearing and I decided to come back to Prague through film. Moreover, Prague is impenetrable and exotic to me because I was very young when I left. But the Prague part of the trilogy is not about me. I'm interested in people like Petr Král, people who return after years in emigration. Prague will be viewed from a greater distance, from somewhere halfway to a return."
I Love My Boring Life
The diary of a grandmother from the Prague neighbourhood of Zbraslav as a diary of eternity. Using informal language, for five years grandmother Alena Němcová from Zbraslav has been writing down weather forecasts, dreams, her morning exercises, cooking, everyday house bustle, global events as well as notes concerning relationships, religion and the general spirit of the times – matters of a private, family, social, real and also surreal nature. The film captures the life in her house as a place that could represent a slice of the world and merge various events and connections, both of a daily and timeless nature. It points out that banality can indeed be part of our perception but not of the world itself. The device is just a change of banality to singularity. This film is part of the "Breathless – Dominance of The Moment" documentary film project.
Phantom of Liberty II
In the so-called global age, man is caught in the trap of time he has set for himself and then got stuck in it along with his freedom. A film about time, which consists of several fragmentary documentary sequences. Each of them shows how subjective the protagonists’ perception of time is: an undertaker transporting coffins every day, a group of aging actors celebrating a birthday on a train, or soldiers rehearsing a manoeuvre. The stories are connected in free association and told circularly to make palpable that all these times exist simultaneously. The film explores time's physical quantity as well as its crucial impact on our actions, behaviour, perception, social rituals and our outlook on the world. A project of Zipp – German-Czech Cultural Projects, the Institute of Documentary Film, Prague, and DOK Leipzig.
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. Will the protagonists finally find their partners? In its theme and approach, the film represents a continuation of Erika Hníková's previous successful films "The Beauty Exchange" and "I Guess We'll Meet at the Eurocamp". The film was awarded in Berlinale IFF 2011.
A documentary feature film by Swiss director Richard Dindo about the Prague Conservatory. An intimate insight into the world of students and teachers of music.
The Story of Mr. Love
Director Dagmar Smrzova's new documentary, produced byendorfilm and HBO Europe, looks into the every-day life of an ordinary man who suffers from schizophrenia. Thirty-year-old Jiri Laska (his last name means 'love'), who lives in a village under the mountains, Batnovice near Trutnov, is not your usual apathetic patient in the psychiatry ward. Using moderntechnology, he communicates with his surroundings and runs hisown website, for which he films unusual journalistic videos. Jirialso has an extraordinary gift for self-reflection and his life ischaracterized by helpfulness and his desire to be useful and productive.
Eugenics was once considered more groundbreaking than the invention of the wheel. It was supposed to save mankind from serious genetic loads. After World War II, the term almost disappeared from the world’s dictionaries. Science was misused by criminal ideology for the selective criteria of a perfect nation. However, it was not the politicians but the scientists who determined the criteria. Unique archive material will be used to create a fantastic vision of the future which turns into a mass murder. A reflection on the boundaries between science and pseudoscience in the past, present, and future.
Social/art events created by Czech artist Kateřina Šedá's burst into the life of her home town and a nearby village as they are gradually reshaped and transformed from within. The film revolves around Šedá's project From Morning Till Night, a one-day event that took place September 3, 2011, as a commission for Tate Modern. Šedá invited eighty residents of all ages from the village of Bedřichovice to recreate their daily routine and the life of their village in London, in an area designated by the artist to closely replicate the perimeter of the village. An additional eighty UK-based professional and amateur artists assisted Šedá in representing the imaginary borders. Each of them positioned at the outskirts of the new locality, painted a specific angle of Bedřichovice while facing the urban landscape of London. The film captures a follow-up and other current projects by Šedá.
Born in a block of flats on the outskirts of Pilsen, Petr Mlčoch was an urban man. After finishing high school, he went on to study cybernetics at Charles University in Prague. His wife Simona grew up at Prague’s Hanspaulka quarter and was studying Czech language and history at Charles University when she met Petr. Today, they have been together for 22 years, have nine children, no running water, bathroom or toilet, living all together in a caravan. All the Time Together will be a powerful and open story of a family who have decided to live a different life than the majority. Relying on their own resources rather than sacrificing their freedom to civilization. It will be a story of people to whom love and mutuality mean more than material security. They have reduced their notion of an alternative life style ad absurdum. In the times of consumerism and comfort, they have taken an opposite direction, even at the cost of a personal sacrifice. Is their approach a utopia bordering on masochism or, on the contrary, the right way to go?