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Jana Boková (Czech Republic)

Jana Boková is an internationally respected figure in documentary film. In 2003 the Paris Cinematheque hosted a complete retrospective of her work. Countless essays and research papers were published on her in magazines such as Sight and Sound or Positif. She lives in Buenos Aires. She emigrated in 1968, moving first to Paris, where she studied at the Sorbonne. After that she went to the USA, working as a photographer for the Rolling Stone and other magazines. After returning to Europe, she studied at the newly opened National Film and Television School in London. The advisor on her first assignment was Jean Rouch. Her 1975 debut film, Militia Battlefield, on the life of a bar singer in London, was immediately distributed in French cinemas and won extraordinary acclaim from both critics and viewers. There followed Marvena and Marika (1977), on the life of emigres, also set in London. In 1980 she made Blue Moon, about a languishing Paris cabaret, as well as a documentary portrait of Anthony Quinn entitled Quinn Running. He most successful film so far is the 1990 documentary Havana. She was the first to film the writer Reinaldo Arenas, about whom Julian Schnabel later made the feature film Before Night Falls, which was directly inspired by Havana. In the years after that, she made for instance a film on Eric Clapton (2002), and Mexico, (2000), about the world’s most populous city. Tango Salon (2004) is a portrait of a famous dance club in Buenos Aires that has managed to preserve its atmosphere even though an economic crisis rages all around it. For her latest film Bye Bye Shanghai she decided to find out exactly what the word “exile” means.
During her career Jana Boková has also made two feature films. Her fiction debut, Hotel du Paradise, was made in 1986 and was entered in competition at


  • Bye Bye Shanghai
  • Tango Salon
  • Eric Clapton!
  • Avignon
  • Diary for a Taly / Diario para un cuento
  • Havana
  • Hôtel du Paradis
  • Sunset People
  • Dallas: The Big Store
  • Quinn Running
  • I Look Like This
  • Marika and Marevna
  • Living Room
  • Just One More War
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