Between Light and Darkness
The Greatest Wish II
Documentary filmmaker Jan Špáta explores the lives of young Czechs towards the end of the 1980s.
A documentary about a friendship and love between teh healthy and handicapped teenagers.
Forsaken Love (Part I-II)
A two-part programme in which Jan Špáta discusses his life´s work as a director and cameraman of documentary films; the programme features examples of his films.
The restored films of Jan Špáta
A selection from a unique project to digitally restore the films of legendary Czech documentarist Jan Špáta. One of Špáta’s first accomplishments as a director is the renowned film essay Respice finem (15 min) about old village women humbly waiting for the end of life. In 1965, during eminent trumpeter Louis Armstrong’s visit to Prague, the director created the report Hallo Satchmo (26 min). In Variations on Gustav Mahler’s Theme (Variace na téma Gustava Mahlera, 13 min) Špáta rendered his relationship to and admiration for the world-renowned, Czech-born musical genius. In 1990 he and photographer Jindřich Štreit observed the lives of the subjects of Štreit’s photographs from the border region in Between Light and Darkness (Mezi světlem a tmou, 24 min). Athletic Variations (Atletické variace, 28 min) is a sophisticated essay on winning and losing during the 1982 European Athletics Championships held in Athens.
The project, to be released on four DVDs, includes the digital restoration and transfer to HD format of 18 of Jan Špáta’s most important works.
Jan Špáta (October 25, 1932 Náchod – August 18, 2006), a Czech cinematographer and director. In 1952, he graduated from a graphic art school (photography). From 1952 to 1957, studied cinematography at FAMU. From 1957, he was employed at Krátký film Praha as a cinematographer for news reels, reports and documentary films. He worked with major filmmakers of the time, including Evald Schorm. This cooperation strongly influenced his desire to direct his own films. He made his directorial debut in 1964 with The Greatest Wish, although he still continued working as a cinematographer. His debut along with the second documentary feature Respice Finem received top honours at local and international film festivals. In 1968 he received the Award from the Minister of Culture for outstanding achievement in documentary film. Since the 1960s he made several travel documentaries for international production companies. In his 34-year career, he made more than 107 films that received over sixty awards at festivals both at home and abroad.
In the 1960s he was a lecturer at FAMU and at Hochschule für Film und Gestaltung in Germany. Lecturer at FAMU's Department of Documentary Film since its establishment; in the 1990s, he became an Associate Professor and later obtained his professorship at FAMU. Filmography (director): 1998 - Láska, kterou opouštím, 1997 - Jak se žije baletkám na začátku a konci kariéry, 1993-1996: GEN (portraits series), 1992 - 777 vteřin, 1991 - Konec světa, Zmatený poutník, 1985 - Zimní pastorále, 1983 - Česká filharmonie, 1982 - Atletické variace, 1980 - Milujeme život, Odsouzení, 1978 - Hudbou poznávám, 1975 - Šumavské pastorále, 1973 - Koně, 1971 - Vánoce v Africe, Den v Praze, 1970 - Nechte nás kvést, Země a lidé, Jdi za štěstím, 1968 - Znamení krve, Kavkazský podzim, Tbilisi, město neznámé, 1965 - Okamžik radosti, Hallo Satchmo. Filmography: (scriptwriter and director): 1997 - Jak se žije těm, kteří vědí, co jedí, 1990 - Největší přání II / The Greatest Wish II (feature documentary), 1990 - Mezi světlem a tmou (about Jiří Štreit, the last theatrical release), 1988 - Carpe diem, 1987 - Vstaň a choď, 1981 - Pře o vepře, 1980 - Variace na téma Gustava Mahlera, 1979 - Kreutzerova sonáta, 1970 - Poslední dějství, 1970 - Svítí slunce?, 1967 - Respice Finem, 1967 - Země Svatého Patrika, 1964 - Největší přání I / The Greatest Wish I. Filmography (cinematographer): 1990 - Miluj bližního svého, dir. O. Sommerová, 1989 - Máte rádi Smetanu?, dir. O. Sommerová, 1982 - Ty to překonáš, dir. O. Sommerová, 1981 - S tebou, táto, dir. O. Sommerová, 1979 - Dotek světla, dir. H. Třeštíková, Hledání, dir. D. Vihanová, 1976 - Dvě jubilea Jana Zrzavého, dir. H. Třeštíková, Etuda o zkoušce, dir. E. Schorm, 1975 - Československá spartakiáda 1975, dir. R. Krejčík, 1968 - Místní rozhlas, dir. R. Krejčík, 1965 - Zrcadelní, dir. E. Schorm
1963 - Proč?, dir. Evald Schorm, Železničáři, dir. E. Schorm, 1961 - Pod Sněžkou je všední den, 1957 - Než se rozhrne opona, dir. Věra Šimková-Plívová (FAMU), 1956 - Život, dir. L. Ráža (FAMU).