The impetus for making this travelogue was Jan Burian's description of his travels in The Journey to Iceland saga. Icelandic Memory tries to identify features that constitute a community.
Documentary episodes from the life of amateur musicians living in the Czech countryside. The documentary questions whether this phenomenom of folk musicians who carry within them the national tradition is disappearing.
Where Is the Truth?
The life stories of Hans Stein and Milan Platovský, two Czechs living in Chile.
Seekers of a Fixed Point
This documentary is a provisional culmination of a long-term project that aims to capture recent Czech history (1990-2001) by following the lives of four people who were active in the events of 1989.
The Shutka Book of Records
Shutka is the largest Roma settlement in the Balkans. At least according to the words of a young local fisherman, who is the main protagonist of this documentary film, shot in co-production with Czech Television. The film is a guide through the streets of Shutka, where in every person we can find at least one national champion, or even world champion, regardless of what it is in. What is important is that each person believes in their uniqueness and others recognize it. In this ever-expanding society, space is made for competing religious representatives such as those participating in a Muslim dervish or the servants of God using the "medium" of Christian tradition. The local homosexual in his colourful wardrobe is no less respected that the greatest pair of lovers - prostitute Kasandra and the elderly Alfonso who enjoys walking around Shutka in a copy of Tito's uniform. This Macedonian settlement, with its difficult-to-estimate population, also has its own music industry: from the recording studio to the workshop for music videos and even some big stars, who due to the active work of local music pirates must earn money in the old-fashioned way - at weddings, circumcision celebrities or funerals.
God's Stone Quarry (One Year In North Bohemia)
"For someone, it's Gott, for another, it's Satan. I put sugar in my coffee. Each has his own truths, even the crystalline rock in the Krušné Hory mountains. The buzzard snatched the young hare and the spider lies in wait for the fly. Bulls will end up in the goulash. The sportsman wants to win, the horse wants to win, vineyard farmers want to win, and President Klaus wants to win. I'll tell on the birds in the heavens, but the energy industry must always remain a serious issue. You let someone into your home, you don't even know who they are, and they cause you harm. The devil manipulates people, but crystalline rock is everlasting." God's Stone Quarry is similar in form to Rychlík's older film, One Year, which focused on people long settled in the Horňácko region straddling the Moravian-Slovak border. At first sight, the interconnectedness of the Carpathian highlanders' lifestyle, culture, and economy with their environment, their respect for nature and the natural and divine orders of the world vastly differ from the lives of the people inhabiting Northern Bohemia's "lunar" landscape. But human dreams and desires are the same everywhere, even in a region which seems to have been written off. The film takes us on a search for happiness in a hapless land.
Square Ďáblice 1998 - 2004
Written for Prague Spring, Opus No. 3
Opus Three - The final part of Pavel Koutecký's trilogy of Prague Spring is made up of two compositions specially created for the festival - Sylvie Bodorová's oratorium Judas Maccabeus, with texts from the Old Testament, and Peter Graham's Subida. The first was performed in St. Vitus' Cathedral at Prague Castle, the second in an old factory in the Karlin district of Prague. The first is a large-scale work, classical in conception, with every detail annotated in the score; the second is a smaller-scale and highly experimental piece allowing the players considerable freedom of interpretation. Both, however, are very far removed from the usual concert repertoire and style of playing. The heroes of the film are without doubt the composers, who first have to put their musical vision on paper, then explain it to the conductor, players and singers. The film crew was present at virtually every stage of the demanding rehearsal process. Following the tragic death of Pavel Koutecký last year, the film was completed by director Jaroslav Hovorka.
It's Spring in Prague Every Year/It's the Prague Spring Every Year, Opus No. 1
Two clarinet players, one Czech and one Israeli, first sing to one another over the phone and then send each other emails with photographs of their concert gowns. Several days prior to their performance, they meet and discover that each had been rehearsing a different version of the composition. Following this new musical interplay is one of the plot lines in this documentary film, which tries to capture the backstage of the Prague Spring music festival, an important festival institution. The director does not show the individual performances but represents them, offers experiences of specific situations, and images of the creative work. The film is among the work by Koutecký's that is driven by an admiration for music and architecture, permanent and indestructible forms of art. The fingers of the clarinet players in an erotic musical confrontation. Virtuosity hides behind the energy of the rehearsals, captured in the film amidst the festival's preparations. Smaller events thus combine to form a model of the music festival's polysemous performance space, which the camera, in the present and in dialogue, co-creates as a cultural, political, and symbolic act in one. Institution is a hierarchy, accompanied by the attributes of control and subordination. All the musicians identify with this. They are united by their passion for music, and yet the invisible tensions among them become the plotline of what takes place. Documenting an institution means choosing and selecting, and Koutecký presents in the film those moments where the work is emerging, the feelings and conduct related to these moments, and the entire drama of the rehearsals, in which the sphere of action is transmitted from the psyche of the musicians to the musical tones. The director's comments on the comical effects that the battle over music also produces are made with tact and restraint. What he is attempting is to capture the creative process, and he does not prevail on the viewer to emotionally experience the music presented in the film. On the contrary, using situational images, hidden behind the concerts, he reveals the individuality of the musicians who contribute to the festival's universal value.
Love Your Enemies
The tale of a Swiss woman and a Czech man who changed the lives and worldviews of hundreds of people. After the Second World War, Přemysl Pitter (1895 - 1976) and Olga Fierz (1900 - 1990) rescued over 800 Jewish and German children from German concentration camps and Czech internment centers. For many of the kids, the encounter with Přemysl and Olga was a decisive factor in their lives, both in terms of career choices and spiritual orientation.
In the course of 13 years the crew has filmed 45 hours of images and recorded 90 hours of sound material. This truly unique material offers new looks behind the scenes of international politics in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century, and also into events in a post-totalitarian country during its transition to democracy. Václav Havel was a key figure in the great changes that took place in central and Eastern Europe in the 1990s - the film material captures his work and influence both in his country and internationally. Among the truly unique events captured on film is Bill Clinton's State visit to the Czech Republic in January 1994, including the private part of the visit, when he went to the Reduta jazz club in Prague. Other events are the historic 2002 NATO Summit in Prague, Václav Havel formulating his position for a statement during the Prague meeting of the International Monetary Fund: "I sympathize with opponents of the IMF, and I'm also anti-establishment, but now I represent the country hosting the meeting"...
Short Long Journey
" About people, not only about Jews, about the evil in us, not only about the holocaust,about the present not only about the past" In April 1945 Vojtech Gál was murdered on the way from Sachsenhausen to Schwerin. In April 2008 his son walked the same route in an attempt to find his father's grave and leave a testimony. He was accompanied by friends, film makers and fellow pilgrims. They did not understand everything they came across. They could not comprehend some of the people with whom they talked. But it never occurred to them even for a moment that they were travelling without aim and meaning. They give harsh personal witness of their journey, anticipating neither agreement nor tolerance.
...Those Are Tough Memories
Documentary film on the holocaust of Romanies in the Czech lands made for the permament exhibition of the Museum of Romany Culture in Brno. The film draws from archive sources, which are accompanied by testimonies givenby witnesses of the Romany holocaust.
To Live as a Dane
About Danes, their character, sense of humour and feelings of luck. The film tells the story of a clown who became a deputy, a priest who dresses as a clown and an economist who works as a postman.
Bornholm - Off-Season
Bornholm Island in the Baltic Sea belong to the Danes. Thousands of tourists go there in the summer, but almost nobody goes there in the winter. The filmmakers take a look at the time when the islanders can live their own life.
Whites and Blacks Have Red Blood
What is it like for Romanies living amongst the gadjos? Present-day living and problems as seen by the Romanies.
The Best of Bad Methods
Democracy is the best of all bad methods for the administration of society....said Winston Churchill. Before the local elections in 1994 Břetislav Rychlík asked voters and candidates in MOst, Písek and Javorník on the sense to local politics.
Discussing Ethics in Medicine
This documentary essay considers the issue of ethics in medicine, the relationship between doctor and patient, the role of money in medicine, euthanasia, artificial conception in vivo and vitro, abortion, donor transplats and trading in human organs.
The Beauty of New Machines
A documentary film chiefly about people who love personal computers. For artists, new technology is only a little box with a perfect design, old-timers marvel at their rapid development, for scrapyard attendants old machines are just recycled raw material and pupils of primary schools are the new generation for whom computer technology is just as matter-of-fact as the telephone and television are for us.
Documentary film covering the wide spectrum of interests and activities of people working in non-governmental environmental organizations.
Chilean Diary - Journey to Altiplano [and Back]
How to survive nine thousand meters above sea level.
Chilean Diary - Indians, Magicians and Lifts
Three special places in Chile - Valparaiso, the indian island Chiloe and the small deserted town of La Titana.
Chilean Diary - Story of Guillermo from Mcel
About a man who faced teh challenge of making his way through the forest to the top of the hill so that he could look down.
Chilean Diary - Santiago - Life in the Movement
How they live in Chile´s capital city.
Chilean Diary - On the Sand
Plants, animals and people can live on sand and even enjoy it.
We Recall...What Was Worn I /1945 - 1970/
Post-war and creative "fashion salons". Socialistic fashion for workers rather than home "manufacturers", in which all sorts of clothing was remade throught the night. Nylons and the jeans first mafe the scene during this period.
We Recall...What Was Worn II /1969 - 1989/
A look back at the normalization period when t-shirts with American writing and jeans were forbidden. Fashion and tailor salons in homes in which sneakers and sheets were coloured, trousers flared out into bell bottoms and narrowed back into straight legs.
Prophets and Poets. Chapters from the Calendar.
This film is a mosaic of 14 Hrabal-like Prague characters from a university professor, philosopher, female poet and gardener to a street sweeper and their views on the preceding century as well as dreams and expectations for the new century.
Montenegro - A Land on the Edge of Europe
A documentary film which describes the natural and social contrasts of the smallest of the former Yugoslav republics which the Venetians called Montenegro.
Seeking the Wisdom of Old Age
On the basis of specific experiences of a few elderly people, the film reveals various forms of age and tries to give an integrating view of them.
The Hidden Charm of Bureaucracy
A film searching for the meaning and importance of state administrative bodies. A few images and concrete situations from offices with which Czechs are in frequent contact, as well as institutions which Czechs know mostly about from the media. The creators of this film show Czech offices from the position of the citizen as well as the office employee, who is the buffer between the state administrative bodies and the citizen.
Four Velvet Men Then and Now: Michael Kocáb
Portraits of 4 personalities of the Velvet Revolution captured within the span of twenty years. Director Pavel Koutecký and later director Jan Šikl have been following the lives of four people who were among those who stepped up onto the tribune on Wenceslas Square in Prague in November 1989. Musician Michael Kocáb, dissident Jan Ruml, young participant in the incursion on Národní třída Kryštof Rímský and student leader Martin Mejstřík. The post-November period opened up new possibilities and opportunities for all of them. This unique film project captures their quests, misconceptions, resolutions and doubts on the way to finding their own place in the troubled waters of a transforming society.
Revolution Girls is the story of one generation of Czech women who took part in the 1989 Velvet Revolution. Though their lives took different directions after the student strike in 1989, they still share some of the zeal required to achieve the things they believe in. Jana, a representative in the EU Parliament, is passionate about saving the world. Alena writes one book after another, searching the past for hints that would inspire the present. Alice is a successful entrepreneur who raises an adopted Roma daughter and fulfills her childhood dream of having a big family. Pavla puts her energy into a career in the music business while searching for her place in life. Are they living their dreams? How many revolutions does a woman go through by the time she is forty? What can their stories tell us about the time and place they live in?
Die Bienen Flogen schon
The reconstruction of the photographic Atelier Seidel in Český Krumlov and the rediscovery of a unique collection of nearly 140,000 historical photographs becomes not only the basis for the narrative of a life-story of two photographers – father and son, but also leads to the revival of Czech-German dialogue, and to the reconstruction of the long-gone lives and culture. It brings us to a general meditation over photography, which serves here not only as historical testimony, but also as a means of experiencing and remembering.
The Roma King
The main themes of this documentary are the integration of Roma people into society, racism, usury, unemployment, population explosion, migration to the UK and the influence of the modern Christian Church.
Four Velvet Men Then and Now - Jan Ruml
Twenty years ago, filmmaker Pavel Koutecký began following the stories of four people who actively took part in Czechoslovakia's Velvet Revolution: musician Michael Kocáb, dissident Jan Ruml and students Kryštof Rímský and Martin Mejstřík. After Koutecký's death, the project was taken on by Jan Šikl. These four films, made over an extremely long period, recapitulate the protagonists' ups and downs, and allow the viewer to reflect with them on the developments Czech society has gone through during the last two decades. The part dedicated to Jan Ruml introduces viewers to a well-known politician, who has influenced society as interior minister, party boss and senator. Despite the challenges he has faced, Ruml has lost neither an ability for reflection nor a sense of responsibility for the public sphere.
Four Velvet Men Then and Now - Martin Mejstřík
Twenty years ago, filmmaker Pavel Koutecký began following the stories of four people who actively took part in Czechoslovakia's Velvet Revolution: musician Michael Kocáb, dissident Jan Ruml and students Kryštof Rímský and Martin Mejstřík. After Koutecký's death, the project was taken on by Jan Šikl. These four films, made over an extremely long period, recapitulate the protagonists' ups and downs, and allow the viewer to reflect with them on the developments Czech society has gone through during the last two decades. The part about Martin Mejstřík can be summed up by the phrase "sometimes you're up, sometimes you're down." Through circumstances and his own decisions, Mejstřík occasionally finds himself at the heart of social affairs, while in other moments he goes through difficult times personally. This is the story of an obstinate activist forever dogged by internal doubts who tries out roles as varied as journalist, gardener, janitor and senator. So far, it doesn't have a happy ending.
Four Velvet Men Then and Now - Kryštof Rímský
Twenty years ago, filmmaker Pavel Koutecký began following the stories of four people who actively took part in Czechoslovakia's Velvet Revolution: musician Michael Kocáb, dissident Jan Ruml and students Kryštof Rímský and Martin Mejstřík. After Koutecký's death, the project was taken on by Jan Šikl. These four films, made over an extremely long period, recapitulate the protagonists' ups and downs, and allow the viewer to reflect with them on the developments Czech society has gone through during the last two decades. Last story from this unique longitudinal documentary is dedicated to Kryštof Rímský, who was in 1989 a secondary-school pupil and the youngest witness of the brutal police incursion on Národní třída.
The art documentary film Summerhouses will capture the rapidly disappearing, specifically Czech phenomenon, the architecture of summerhouses. It is about summerhouses in which the striking personality of their builder – in the negative or positive sense – is reflected. They are the embodied form of human dreams, for these buildings create their own worlds which are an escape from the reality of the everyday. They are not emergency shelters; they are the architecture of an abstracted human happiness. The changes in society are reflected in them under the pressure of the time, the fettered human longings, opinions, a certain type of ‘trampish Romanticism‘, a longing for nature, for freedom, but also for community and creativity, linked with a do-it-yourself instinct, and a relative absence of religion. In the Czech countryside they are impossible to overlook and at the same time rapidly and irretrievably disappearing.
František Kriegel - The Harvest of Conscience
František Kriegel, doctor and politician, saw many of the crossroads of the 20th century; the Spanish Civil War, the Allies’ victory in South-East Asia, the start of the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia and in Cuba, the Prague Spring of 1968 as well as the Charter 77. The film essay František Kriegel - The Harvest of Conscience is not a reconstruction of Kriegel’s life but rather an exploration of what motivated him and what survives of his efforts as well as of those of people like him - 20th century left-wing humanists with a cosmopolitan world view.
The split of Czechoslovakia is sometimes referred to as the Velvet Divorce, in contrast to the turbulent dissolution of the former Yugoslavia. Exploring the dissolution of one country, this film sets out to point out some of the generally applicable features of human nature. Why, in a duel with reason, do negative emotions triumph? It also reveals how politicians manipulate the masses who in turn influence political leaders.
The Passengers are Bajdy, Pali, Radek, Milan, Pepa, Jeni and Věrka. They are all linked by the Lety Children’s Home and by drama therapy. Tereza, a psychologist, and Jirka, a theatre director, also belong to the Passengers. Jirka works with professional actors at the Hradec Králové theatre but at the same time has a wealth of experience in drama therapy. Tereza had been trying to find alternative ways of treating the mental disturbances and traumas of children from the children’s home. She and Jirka started drama therapy without any idea of performance in mind. Today, drama therapy as a form of treatment is something of an exception in children’s homes. This film shows that drama therapy is a beneficial tool that helps to develop children's imagination and enables them to process negative emotions.
Czechoslovakia – The Destiny of a Canadian
The documentary is a portrait of H. G. Skilling, a Canadian by birth and a Czech at heart. A Toronto native, Skilling became interested in Central and Eastern Europe and Czechoslovakia in particular during his studies at Oxford. From the 1930s, the historian and political scientist happened to be present at all crucial points of Czechoslovak and Czech and Slovak history – the death of President Masaryk and the death of Czechoslovak democracy, the Nazi occupation and the Communist coup, the beastly fifties and the hopes of thaw dashed by Soviet invasion, the stolid timelessness of “normalization” as well as the “Velvet Revolution”. Told through the words of his friends, associates, dissidents as well as prominent U.S. politicians, the visual style of the movie combines interviews in unusual settings, animated present-day still photography and archival material (including Secret Police pictures) to create a detailed story of a man who deserves to be remembered.
Fragments of P. K.
An original portrait of Pavel Koutecký, one of the most outstanding Czech documentary filmmakers. The film will utilize Koutecký's footage that was left unfinished, as well as his correspondence, scripts, photos, etc. The nature of all the original material will be shifted so that it no longer refers to the topic but to the filmmaker himself.