Ivan Vojnár (born 1942, Žilina) is one of the Czech Republic’s most fascinating cameramen and documentary filmmakers, yet he has also been hailed for his feature films. He studied photography at Prague’s FAMU and established himself as a close colleague of a number of significant documentarists. In 1988 he filmed a documentary portrait of mime-artist Bolek Polívka entitled Dream about Pierrot (Sen o Pierotovi). Other documentaries he directed include Fear (Strach, 1989), Landscape with Fire (Krajina s ohněm, 1992), Insomnia (Nespavost, 1993) and Actors (Herci, 1996). His essay about patients at a psychiatric hospital In the Garden (V zahradě) won him the main prize in the documentary category at the KV IFF in 1995. In 1997 he debuted with his feature-film parable The Way through the Bleak Woods (Cesta pustým lesem) and he continued to seek truth and reality in Forest Walkers (Lesní chodci), a film hovering on the border between feature and documentary film. His medium-length film Prophets and Poets. Chapters from a Calendar (Proroci a básníci. Kapitoly z kalendáře, 2000) and his documentary survey Reminiscences (Rozpomínání, 2006) represented a new direction in his documentary work. In his last project My Husband’s Women (Ženy mojho muža), he returned to feature film again.
A significant theme of his films is otherness. In his own words, there isn’t enough sense for understanding other cultural groups in the Czech society. That is why in his films, he tries to put great emphasis on contemplation and perception of otherness.
He calls his working method an “art essay”, with both the feature and documentary film genres penetrating and enriching each other. In his films, he cites the theatre gladly and abundantly.
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