Prague, Czech Republic, 31 May, 2003, a few minutes before 10a.m.; there are more than 3000 people jostling on a remote parking place. Many of them are clutching plastic bags in their hands; some of them are armed with trolley. Assistants are handing out plastic cups and the host on the lit stage urges people to have a drink from the nearby water tanker. The "hyper-anthem" of CZECH DREAM rings out once again from the speakers: "Try to see as a child, many things will seem wild..." Suddenly the managers of the hypermarket rush out on stage, greet their customers and briskly cut the glittering ribbon. Guards remove the metal barriers and the crowd starts moving. They still have 300 metres to reach the hypermarket. People start running... A moment later, the fastest of them are struck dumb: the hypermarket that they have reached is nothing but a huge film decoration... The documentary hyper-comedy CZECH DREAM is a feature film about a hypermarket that never existed. An original, cheeky treatise on capitalism, with more than a whiff of exploitation, “Czech Dream” follows two film students who used a state grant to promote the opening of an entirely fictitious bigbox mega-market in a Prague field. The resulting scandal, alternately hilarious and discomforting, illuminates the waking nightmare of cosumerism in a country still adjusting to the strenghts and pitfalls of the concept. -- Eddie Cockrell, Variety
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.
Memory of the 20th Century: Pavel Tigrid - The European
A portrait of Pavel Tigrid, a Czech journalist and author. The film was made during the last days of his life.
Searching for Ester
Ester Krumbachová - an artist, screenwriter, director; one of the boldest personalities of the Czech New Wave. She worked in theatre, she was a writer and an illustrator. She co-created films such as The Party and the Guests, Daisies, All My Good Countrymen, Fruit of Paradise, Valerie and Her Week of Wonders, The Very Late Afternoon of Faun, Marian, and many others. In the 1960s, she was at the centre of Prague's art scene, drawing artists who were at the beginning of their career, trying to find their own voice. Those who underwent her training remember her forever. Director Věra Chytilová talks to those who knew Ester Krumbachová, worked with her, befriended her, loved her. She sets out on a search that that should answer the following question: Who was Ester?
New Czech Design
New Czech design presents the works of young Czech designers and at the same time offers reasons for why their work wins international recognition. The film also tries to raise the awareness about the meaning of design, to demonstrate its ability to influence the living environment and communication in a profound way. This first part of the documentary series about new Czech designers presents the work of the young generation of Czech designers. Ivan Dlabač, Michal Froněk, Petr Knobloch, Aleš Najbrt, Jan Němeček, Rony Plesl are among the young Czech designers who present their most "international" in the course of the film. The work is commented on not only by the designers but also by the investor and users. Audiences can see how and why the individual objects were made, and how well they serve their purpose.
1st May 2004. The Czech Republic along with nine other states joins the European Union. Before the midnight comes, three young authors find themselves at three different locations of the country. Vít Janeček is shooting in the capital, Erika Hníková is in Jablunkov, the easternmost place of the country, and Ivana Miloševič in the westernmost city of Aš. Three different filmmaking styles are united in one documentary, capturing social and mental history of a single moment. And against the backdrop of the historical moment, discovering different opinions of people from different social classes, they are trying to capture the first fundamental change of the Czech state. This unconventional concept of the living history captured in transience and discontinuity of impressions tries to go beyond the initial invisibility of change, in order to stress the co-existence of our national self and the world around us. The three different directorial styles symbolize its incoherent possibilities.
Profile: Jan Kaplický
"I have the feeling that there is always someone creating something which our generation never even imagined." Jan Kaplický, quote from his essay on architecture. We believe that from today's perspective, i.e. a time when ecological issues are becoming the focal point, a time when many of us suffer from a lack of living space, forming the human beings; We believe that it is worth trying to make a film portrait of a man who dealt with these issues a long time ago, through architecture! Long before 1968, when he decided to leave the country as a consequence of the then political turmoil and it was only in emigration that he proved his exceptional talent! Our intention is to create – on a large scale – a portrait of the heart of Jan Kaplický, as well as of his opinions and thinking through the architecture of today's society. Jan Kaplický has been living and working in England for a long time, where he also founded Future Systems, a prestigious society recognized throughout the world. He visits Prague, his native town, partly because of the fact that he feels homesick and also because he pursues various projects here (among the most famous ones, there is the proposed memorial to the victims of the communist regime, in the form of 42 stairs leading to a point overlooking the city, which has however not been put in practice yet). Unfortunately, all his proposals usually meet opposition in the Czech Republic, both due to personal intolerance, associated with envy – a typical Czech character, as well as due to a number of absurd decisions about what to build, where bribery often plays an important role. Similarly to Milan Kundera, a well-known writer, Jan Kaplický has not become very popular in his home country. The important themes on which the film should focus include the life story of this man – an architect, problems of leaving one's native land and various issues of modern architecture. Thanks to our friendly relations with J.K., we managed to make a short recording in spring 2002, when the architect took us to his favourite spots in Prague, heartily spoke about the influence that his parents had on him (in Letná Alley) and about how one develops as an architect, moments of his youth before he left the country in 1968, about how a Russian soldier aimed his gun at him, about the generation changes and the unrealised monument to the victims of communism. This interview could help people reveal the horizons and motivate them to take a different view of the world. With his more than two-meter-high posture of a tall gentleman (visually an extremely interesting person), he irradiates strong energy. This was also evident from his lecture which he gave to a crowded audience in Veletržní Fair Palace, Prague, in 1999, from which we have managed to get a unique recording.
Memory of the 20th Century: My Lucky Star
The story of Zdena Fantlová, who survived a Nazi concentration camp.
Memory of the 20th Century: The Sky over Europe
The life stories of several fliers, fighting in England during the Second World War, and their wives
My House, My... (Part I, II)
Life in the Order
The personal views of monks at the beginning of the 21st century.