A documentary about the unique personality of the Czech alternative scene. Oldřich Janota on himself, on music and life.
In the Middle of a Run - Vladimír Merta
An unconventional portrait of songwriter, screenwriter, director, architect and versatile musician Vladimír Merta.
In Spite of Fate
The documentary depicts a life story of a man, whose fate was not much benign to him. It is a story of a man, who, in spite of inconceivable suffering and critical, seemingly irresoluble situations that life has brought to him, has kept optimism and very commonsensible, constructive view of the present world. It is no surprise, that his friends in America, where he presently lives, call him ‘Mr. Miracle’. The adventure of Pravomil Reichl started in the 30s of the last century in the first days of Hitler’s occupation of the Czech borderland. As a young member of the Czech Army he decided to emigrate. But his journey to freedom ended already in Hungary, where he was put in jail. Although he managed to run away after several months, he was captured again by Soviet Occupation Troops during his illegal travelling in Poland and sent to internment camp – a dreaded Gulag. There he spent three years in very bad conditions. The life in Gulag was a constant fight for survival. Thanks to unimaginable destitution many of his friends were forced to eat dead human bodies. From such a hell Pravomil Reichl was also lucky to escape, however he was once again captured and sentenced to death. Only Stalin’s command to form the First Czech Army Forces in SSSR protected him from the execution. When he got to Buzuluk, where the Forces started to form, he was very close to death. But by means of his will power he went through the demanding training and as a commander of a platoon he participated in the first front line in all crucial battles of the Czech Army Forces (Sokolov, Dukla ect.). He was injured several times. Commanders of the Soviet and the Czech Army awarded his bravery. In spite of that after the World War II he became inconvenient for the ingoing communist leaders owing to his criticism of the Soviet politics and in a trumped-up process he was sentenced to death. President Beneš’s decree (which was one of his latest before he handed over his formal presidential post to communists) changed the verdict for life sentence. But in fact warders of the prison in Leopoldov should have destroyed him. Their horrific practices including both physical and psychical abuse overwhelmed according to Pravomil Reichl horror of the Soviet gulags. Also in this case he managed to run away and after very adventurous journey he arrived in West Berlin, where at first he was not able to convince members of American Secret Service that it is possible to survive such a journey. Meanwhile, he found out that his wife in Czechoslovakia has divorced him. However, he kept fighting for freedom of his homeland. He became a member of the Czech Exile Defensive Unit in Germany and also cooperated with CIA that decided to move him to the U. S. A., (the NKVD agents many times tried to kill him) where he has been living near Oregon until now. Despite his serious ailments he has been visiting the Czech Republic many times in the past few years and the rest of his life he would prefer to spend at Šumava Mountains. Nevertheless, even today there are many strange moments regarding Pravomil Reichl’s life (eg. he was not allowed to see his STB sheaves).