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10 Years of Discovering the Best Documentaries for You



- 5.3.2012 8:00 -

Czech Lions on the Scene!

Cesti lvi

Mr Freedom
“I was twenty five when he died and I realized I knew hardly anything about him,” says Jakub Hejna (editor of films by Helena Třeštíková and Erika Hníková among others) about his grandfather Josef Svoboda, famous Czech theatre scenographer. To fill the gap in (not only) his memory, he made the film Theatre Svoboda. The documentary journey following the life and work of Josef Svoboda also represents a journey through the history of the Czech society of the second half of the 20th century. The main theme is present already in the name of the famous scenographer (Svoboda means freedom in Czech). There were but few really talented artists who were allowed such creative freedom during the communist regime. His grandson’s film openly shows the price he had to pay for his untouchability.
More than twenty years have passed since the fall of communism, however, the question of creative freedom is still (and always will be) alive. The documentary Trafačka: Temple of Freedom presents art as a phenomenon which is unadaptable in its very essence. Documentarists Saša Dlouhý and Roman Vávra made an observational portrait of a group of young artists who have snatched a former transformer station in Prague’s Vysočany district from the developers to transform it into a temple of art rather than a temple of consumerism. It has become a temple of both art and freedom; since the two must always go hand in hand, at least according to the documentary filmmakers.


Hypermarket Here, Hypermarket There
Do not mistake it for a shopping mall! Hypermarket Films is a production company of Czech documentarists Vít Klusák and Filip Remunda. At the 2012 Czech Lion awards, they have scored twice. In his latest film All for the Good of the World and Nošovice!, Vít Klusák deals with the circumstances of the construction of a Hyundai car plant in the North of Moravia. With criticism and irony, his engaged film looks behind the curtain of the official propaganda, showing the real circumstances which lead to the fact that the Nošovice fields now produce cars rather than cabbage, as well as the price one had to pay.
The latter film produced by Hypermarket Films is Solar Eclipse by another engaged filmmaker Martin Mareček. Though the documentary takes place in Africa, the protagonists are Czech. Milan and Tomáš are development experts who have been dealing with the electrification of the countryside in Zambia for several years. They know their job and they are very careful; the bigger their disillusion during their supervision journey, captured by the camera of an experienced documentarist. Mareček has made an impressive record of a clash of two civilizations and ways of thinking. The fact that the film has both humour and an interesting transcending thought was proved by the fact that the film won the Jihlava IDFF 2012 and scored at the Czech Film Critics’ Awards.


One Big Family
Despite the fact that Sir Nicholas Winton has been silent about his significant share in rescuing six hundred Jewish children from Prague during Nazi occupation for quite a long time, the war story of the English stock broker is quite known today. The fact that it has become so well known in the Czech society is also due to director Matej Mináč, as the Winton theme has become a crucial theme of his film career. After All My Loved Ones and The Power of Good: Nicholas Winton, Mináč concluded his Winton trilogy by Nicky’s Family. According to the filmmakers, the family of now hundred-year-old Sir Nicholas included not only his war “children” but also all of those who try to make the world a better place like he did. At least a little bit.

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