Miroslav Janek observes life in a children’s home through games. He chooses the children like partners for filming, teaches them to handle the camera, and leaves them to film their environment themselves.
The director leads them through the various secrets of filming, so the children are not limited to just capturing reality but together animate and film scenes they have invented and experiment with the film material, at the same time revealing important information about their own lives.
The camera in the children’s hands breaks down the wall between two worlds, it is a game, but it is also a tool that allows them to confess their secrets and come to terms with their frustrations or a sudden sense of sadness.
Potatoes fall from an animated wooden dog and stone snakes meander along a field path in the film space of a children’s home. The most unusual and charming images and shapes can here be created out of a variety of parts.
The director at times puts a calming hand on the whirlwind of images by introducing his own perspective, but otherwise he forgoes all external supports and explanations and looks to internal impulses to find the important moments in the children’s lives lived together in this home, impulses based on the personalities of the children and their inimitable imaginations. Children’s fantasy, spontaneity and naturalness transform the children’s home into a game space, but the film also finds room for an almost abstract recording of feelings and lyrically exposes the first experience with a camera.
In the background to the imaginativeness extended by film there appear fragments of predetermined realities: the children are cared for by a state institution, some of them sometimes receive letters from their parents, others have never known their parents. Miroslav Janek has long been interested in the individuals who are overlooked by their surroundings.
He is not an observer but a co-player, who helps the blind, the Roma, and abandoned children, who are trying to extricate themselves from socially determined constraints and find the strength to live with dignity.
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.