People constantly talk about the advantages that politicians have compared to the common citizen. Parliamentary immunity, cheap prices at the Parliament diner or transport privileges are among the issues most commonly brought up in the debate. Though these may be features that make political life more pleasant, their consequences are not too damaging. There are, however, other advantages that make the job of politicians much easier and that also have a much greater impact. These are, for example, the toothless media - afraid to face the anger of those in power - meekly informing about the politicians' slip-ups, and the short memory of citizens that allows politicians to make contradictory statements without being noticed. There are many more similar advantages; three of them are explored by First Among Equals.
Just Because I Love You
Film director and cinematographer Tomáš Kudrna presents the stories of three women who leave their aggressive husbands and find refuge in a women's shelter. Their testimonies are in many respects the same. At the beginning their partners were kind and charming. Gradually, however, the women were isolated from their friends and acquaintances and then came the moment when their partners first struck them. This was followed by psychological humiliation and physical violence, from which the women were not able to liberate themselves for a considerable period of time. The static takes of the camera are free from any type of visual effects and allow the striking testimonies of these unfortunate women to have their full impact.
Governing, Don't Disturb!
The world of politics has a number of typical features: expansiveness, an effort to dictate the rules of the political game, to increase the powers of all players, to politicize significant social issues, to fill all important posts according to party affiliation, and to maintain power without any glitches, ensuring one's own political influence also for the future. These became most evident during the period of so-called "opposition contract", i.e., between the years 1998 - 2002. The film explores the negative attributes through a number of basic issues: How can power be usurped in a democracy? At the end of the 1990s, the two largest parties and their leaders came to understand that they could join forces and gradually simplify the political system to suit their needs. What steps did they take?
Wichterle is a biographical documentary about Otto Wichterle, the inventor of soft contact lenses, an invention used today by more than 100 million people all over the world. The sale of patents could have made him an enormously rich man, had he not lived in Communist Czechoslovakia. His main interest was the application of hydrophilic gels in healthcare. As an individual, he was not afraid to speak out against the totalitarian regime. He initiated the 2000 Words Manifesto of 1968. His story is that of a charismatic personality who despite difficulties was able to see his ideas turn into useful products.
All That Glitters
Situated at the crossroads of global interests, Kyrgyzstan reflects the political rivalry between Russian and American influence, reveals the religious rivalry between Christianity and Islam, and lies between the economic predominance of China and Russia. All That Glitters examines how strange capitalism and democracy can be when introduced to a former Soviet country, where people who were never given autonomy are suddenly expected to make their own financial and political decisions.
The Day after a Long Night
Libuše Audrlická, a Czech, Barbara Müller, a Pole, and Inna Klimenko, an Ukrainian, were three women out of a total of 13 million people who were employed as forced labourers under the Third Reich during the Second World War. For the most part, the monotonous work in ammunition factories or in agriculture involved 12-hour shifts in difficult conditions. This was exacerbated by the awareness that their work helped support the hated Nazi regime. In his new film, director Tomáš Kudrna not only focuses on these women's recollections of their life as labourers for a totalitarian system, but also tries to ascertain how these experiences shaped their subsequent fates. While using a large quantity of unique archive material, family photographs and a disturbing musical score, he composes a vivid portrait of the turbulent destinies of three women whose lives were fundamentally affected by wartime events and forced labour in Nazi Germany.