The Landscape of the Czech RAPublic

A film attempting to adjust its form to its theme – such is the basic characteristic of Czech Rapublic by Tomáš Bojar and Pavel Abrahám.

The ninety minute walk through the landscape of Czech hip hop definitely does not represent any descriptive or all-embracing exploration of the corners of the music genre. It is rather a film that likesto play. In case of Czech Rapublic, the rules of the game are delineated by the very specifics of rap. The elaborated structure, variety and unexpectedness of the documented situations are attractive even for spectators who would otherwise remain untouched by Czech hip hop as such. The film focuses on three prominent Czech rappers, following them in ten primarily stage-managed film situations. In metaphoric terms, each of them represents a composition from an imaginary music album, with a number and a name of their own, each of them entering a rap concert stage and returning to it, so that all the film protagonists are featured in the end. The rappers confront themselves with the “respectable“ citizens of the Czech Republic – a municipal officer, a linguistics professor, a chamber music trio and singer Hana Hegerová. The filmmakers said they were attempting to “bridge the gap between disparate worlds”. Some of the situations end up in mutual misunderstanding while others resound in harmony and concord. The confrontation of opposed elements (the subversive and unrestrained world of the rappers versus the official, polished world of the others)introduces both tension and humour to the film. However, there are situations in the film that are remarkably different from the atmosphere mentioned above. This is when the protagonists meet people who are much closer to the hip hop culture. Once, the rappers set out to a ghetto of the industrial city of Karviná, challenging local kids to make rhymes of their own. Next time, there is a spontaneous encounter of the rappers and several Roma boys sharing a brotherly joint in the park. It is in these situations that the rappers and their music appear where they essentially belong; in the streets, where their gestures and words were born, their presence is suddenly a natural one. Suddenly, their music is not different and differentiating but bringing people together from the very beginning. It is not the points of the individual situations that move [Czech Rapublic] forward. The film situations rather serveas illustrations of rap lyrics. The aim of the film is to leave an impression, giving the spectators a sense of spontaneity and a pleasure of word play,which have represented the essence of hip hop throughout history.


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