20 years of a life spent mainly in prisons. A man who starts over again and again, fails, becomes a writer and keeps challenging the director constantly.
In 1989, Helena Treštíková starts to film juvenile delinquent René. For almost 20 years, she follows the rhythm of his life, most of which is spent in prisons, interrupted only by brief stretches of freedom. 20 years during which epoch-making social upheavals take place, systems, regimes and governments change – depicted by televised images that reach René’s cell. The immobility and absence of pace “inside” is juxtaposed with a restless “outside”, where René roams squares and train stations and takes trains, without arriving anywhere. It is the filmmaker herself who is the connection between inside and outside, having become the only reliable constant in her protagonist’s life. A contradictory and shifting relationship reflected by René in his letters to Treštíková. Read by him, they add a second level to the film where the filmmaker practically becomes the second character. René, whom she helps to become a successful writer over the years, turns out to be an equal but difficult partner. He demands attention as rigorously as he questions the relationship between filmmaker and protagonist again and again. Her attempts to turn him into the co-author of the film are part of the story. A story of overwhelming power that goes straight to where it hurts.
(Catalogue DOK Leipzig)
Doc Alliance is a creative partnership of 7 key European documentary film festivals. Our aim is to advance the documentary genre, support its diversity and promote quality creative documentary films.