They are passing away one after another, and before long they will all be gone - we are speaking about the heroes who were fighting for the freedom of Czechoslovakia in World War II. They did not serve in the RAF, and that is why people rarely know them. The old men talk about the history of their military troop defending Tobruk in the Middle East, recall the commander, General Karel Klapálek, or Masaryk's thoughts, but they also talk about Gottwald's prisons and oblivion. Unique archive footage takes us thousands of kilometres away, into the North African deserts. The men of the troop were the first Czechoslovak soldiers fighting against Hitler. They belong among the last witnesses of the 20th century who can give evidence of its turmoils.
Krejča Behind the Gate
This portrait of the actor and stage director emerged out of the cooperation of Otomar Krejča on the previous film by Radim Procházka Naše lípa (Our Linden). In it Krejča appears in the role of the director and the character of the Miller in Jirásek's Lantern and the time spent together was transformed into a film about him. The title of the film refers to the milestone experiences in Krejča's life and at the same time to Divadlo za branou, the theatre where he worked as an artistic director. Given the importance of that theatre, his story is at once the story of Czech art and Czech society from the mid-20th century to present time. The film is composed out of situations drawn from the director's life, into which extracts from Krejča's theatre and film work are cut. These lead to questions relating to the more ambiguous stages in his life, such as the period of the 1950s and Krejča's political engagement at that time. Krejča wages a battle with the filmmaker and a question comes to hang over the film - to what extent does the director direct his own life and what has remained unsaid? In the end he objects to how the documentary has been conceived and hesitates to consent to its public release. The film's director throughout filming approached Krejča as openly as possible, and during the year of meetings only rarely was he not informed about what was going to be shot. One exception is the moment where an unprepared Krejča is confronted with extracts from the file made by the Communist secret service. Department of documentary film, FAMU - graduate film.
Záviš, The Prince of Pornofolk under the Influence of Griffith's 'Intolerance' and Tati's 'Monsineur Hulot's Holiday', or the Foundation and Doom of Czechoslovakia [1918 - 1992]
Tracing a three-legged dog and biped director on a journey through the Czech present and Czechoslovak past: the four-year-old Edvard Beneš saves the lives of his parents, the sixty-year-old Václav Klaus plays and does not play tennis, a statue bangs its head against the wall. People fight in ketchup and bury their dogs. A collapsed house, a house made of cannabis and a millionaire's villa. Polar bears, ants, falcons and foxes. Songs of Milan Záviš Smrčka. The world according to Karel Vachek.
Film Schools and Societies
A documentary film that examines the tradition of film schools and film societies in our country.The film covers the history of Czech film clubs dating back to the 1940s until today. Paralelly it follows the activity of the Summer Film School in Uherske Hradiste from 2004 to 2007.
That Time 3. Husák's Silence
The third installment in a loose trilogy. This episode focuses on the 1970s and 1980s, the period dubbed normalization (after the Soviets invaded in 1968 and socialism "returned to normal"). An engaging testament to the diversity of values.
Way to Power
Tissues of power inside political parties are covered by a veil of secrecy for non-party people. What decides that some members get to the top of the party hierarchy and others will always fail? What relationships, what written and unwritten rules dominate in closed microworlds of political parties? Robert Sedláček observes the hidden face of political power against the backdrop of parliamentary elections in June 2006.
Diaries and Novels by Pavel Kohout
Pavel Kohout precisely records anything that happens on any given day in his diaries; we can therefore recall the social and personal vicissitudes in the life of a Czech writer thanks to random readings from his diaries, against the background of preparations for the performance of selected parts of the novels under the leadership of J. A. Pitínský and the recordings of a public celebration of Kohout's 80th birthday, attended for representative reasons by Czech political and cultural elites.
Gustáv Husák Centre Stage
Memories of eyewitnesses, a portrait of a left-wing intellectual viewed from different angles and illustrated with archive materials and a theatre mis-en-scene. A man who used power to promote the Communist Party policy in Slovakia only to become its victim when sentenced to life. A story of a career politic who became a representative of the Prague Spring when released, and then ended up being a president of oblivion, an icon of normalization and decay of the Czechoslovak state.
Can Czech politicians acknowledge their own mistakes? Do they have a sense of humour? The answers are explored in a film account of the so-called Sarajevo assassination which was meant to unseat Václav Klaus as Prime Minister. With the help of Václav Klaus (current Czech President), Václav Havel, Jan Ruml, Ivan Pilip and many other participants and observers, we put together a portrait of Czech politics in the second half of the 1990s.
Our Linden Tree
Life according to play of Czech writer Alois Jirásek's Lantern. FAMU, Department of Documentary Film (graduate film)
Aliens and Herons
The documentary Aliens and Herons portraits the fate of the sculptures fromthe Communist so called normalization era in the Czech public space. The film describesthe atmosphere of the time and the relationship of the artists to the "official art" and it's topics, but, mainly, it addresses the decay of the public space today and the devastationof often valuable artworks. Today's officials or developers often demolish the sculpture,viewing it as an unwanted heritage of Communism, and renovating the blocks ofhouses with new pistachio green façade and a saddle roof instead. Pavel Karous startedto map the disappearing statues, and to loose weight, he rides along the paths of thesestatues on his bike showing that the artwork made under the order of the Communistregime doesn't have to be shoddy. In terms of what order is the art being made today?Why does it always have to be innocent sculptures who suffer from political change?
Catenaccio à la Drnovice
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.
Obscurantist and His Lineage or The Pyramids' Tearful Valleys
Karel Vachek’s latest documentary essay deals with the fine line between an internal belief in God and institutionalized religion. At the same time it brings up the need for a healthy sense of skepticism and the benefit of not believing in anything that advertises itself as certain. The filmmaker sets out for the USA, Japan, Great Britain, Poland, and the Balkans in his sometimes amusing investigation of spiritual substitutes, such as esoteric “teachings” or various fraudulent and magical practices. In addition to a Czech “prefab” family, who describe the carryings-on of their poltergeist, well-known mystery buffs appear in the film: Erich von Däniken, Raymond Moody Jr., and Ivan Mackerl. Director Vachek, however, uses no irony or ridicule, and although his position of skepticism in the film is clear, he is quick to point out surprising correspondences between the newest scientific hypotheses and the most ancient religious texts.
Lise Forell – sem frontieras
The film explores borders in the life of a woman who broke away from her family's expectations in 1939 and set out to define her own ground with her own rules. Lise Forell, a Brazilian painter of Czech-German descent, lives a happy life that is marked by constant obstacles and challenges. Yet she also has the willpower to overcome and go beyond any crises, social norms and boundaries in general. At 85 years of age, she is able to assess her remarkable life story without being sentimental, with a due distance and creative energy.
The Children of Our Parents
Tom Feierabend is a California-based filmmaker who spent his youth surfing in the Pacific Ocean. He is also the grandson of politician Ladislav Feierabend whose memoirs published in the 1990s belonged among bestselling titles. Ladislav Feierabend was in the protectorate and exile governments; after 1948, he managed to flee the country and settled down in the United States. He was among the major proponents of non-socialist agriculture; in mid-1930s Czechoslovakia was a country with the highest number of farm collectives in the world. When he was little, Tom heard a lot about the idyllic life in pre-war Czechoslovakia. The ending sounds almost like a fairy tale; in the early 1990s, the filmmaker started a family in his grandfather's house in Prague and then decided to make a film about his roots that would blend big and small history. However, the film will definitely not be a fairy tale as Tom's insistence in interviewing his relatives rubs against their desire to keep the image of their famous ancestor unblemished. The perspective of an American intellectual on Czechoslovak history promises to offer unique and original insights. Fifteen years of research and shooting in police and history archives, interviews with emigrants as well as those who stayed behind, will offer a broad reflection of our relationship to recent history. Besides the Feierabend family, Meda Mládková, Milan Uhde and Pavel Žáček will be among those to appear in the film.
Our First Father Cultivator
Five years ago President of the Czech Republic Václav Klaus visited a harvest home in Polabian Basin in Bohemia where driving a combine he harvested the last bit of that year‘s crop. The welcome and veneration of Václav Klaus there links, whether consciously or subconsciously, to two of his predecessors.
A documentary collage about the progress of one Czech day, composed by 24 directors. Everyone picked one hour, day or night, and received two minutes of the whole film at his or her disposal. This allowed for the mosaic on genres and topics that portrait the atmosphere of the Czech Republic today. At the same time, this unique project presents various filmmaking styles and approaches of the best contemporary Czech documentarians, all on the reel of one film. The authors accompany teenagers at a discotheque, observe doctors during surgery, laborers in a factory, believers in a synagogue or the descent in a human throat. Olga Špátová records the authentic power of the moment when the child is born. Vít Klusák engages a special camcorder to freeze the time of one tram stop. The flow of time is Helena Třeštíková’s topic – she films Katka taking yet another public bath in a Prague’s fountain. Martin Mareček shows a pair of legs sunk in aquarium, which, backed with a voiceover, illustrates the timeless power of human stupidity. Jiří Krejčík, a significant persona of Czech film, conceived his film hour with a great amount of humor and exaggeration.
A Film about the Film Long Live the Family!
The film presents Robert Sedláček’s feature film Long Live the Family (Rodina je základ státu, dir. Robert Sedláček, 2011).
In Fragile Identity, Slovak director Zuzana Piussi examines her fellow countrymen’s current notions of nationality. She expresses her concern that Slovak national sentiment is rather fragile and liable to political misuse. The protagonists often reject the leading Czech figures of Czechoslovak history and prefer to look for their roots in the common “pre-national“ past of Great Moravia. Although many of the stories are rather tragicomic, the turbulent developments in the EU have shown that the search for one’s own identity is a sensitive matter not only in Slovakia.
The Navel of the Sky
"I don’t want to be navel of the Earth. Earth has navels galore, it doesn’t need me. I want to be the sky’s navel. An air pocket, a black hole’s the role for me. There is more freedom and more liberty there." (Viktar Zybul). The shortest way to the navel of the sky is from the highest spot in Minsk, Belarus, located 300 metres above sea level. Just a few kilometres away lies the Independence Square where in December 2010, the police beat protesters who took to the streets to criticize the manipulated presidential election. Uladzimir Niaklajeu, the most famous Belarusian poet, was among the candidates. He was beaten up and later placed under house arrest. This film is about the extraordinarily rich and vigorous Belarusian poetry and about the Russian-speaking president. This film examines the metaphors of Belarusian poetry that is surviving on the periphery of capitalism.