In 1980, Helena Třeštíková started filming the lives of six randomly selected young couples. She followed them for the period of six years since their wedding. Their marital joys, expectations as well as lost illusions were depicted in the documentary cycle Marriage Stories. Twenty years later, the filmmaker revisited the protagonists with her camera, trying to find out how the quarter of a century influenced their marriage and their personalities. The unique observational cycle Marriage Stories 20 Years Later is now available for the visitors of the portal Doc Alliance Films.
The desire to see the real joys and sorrows of everyday lives of “the others” is rooted deep inside each of us. However, there are but a few ways of satisfying this desire without an aftertaste of sensationalism or voyeurism. Marriage Stories are one of a few documentary projects to provide this possibility. Director Helena Třeštíková entered the personal zone of the six young couples with a sound, unaffected distance. She even approached the protagonists rather as a sociologist than a filmmaker. When she decided to revisit the families she used to film in the 1980s again in 1999, her project gained an extra dimension. The stories of Ivana and Pavel; Zuzana and Vladimír; Marcela and Jiří; Zuzana and Stanislav; Mirka and Antonín; Ivana and Václav became intimate portraits of people’s lives that are both simple and unique, telling about the difficult twists of married life while providing a historical probe into life stories that underwent a change of two political regimes and the related social transformation.
Marriage Stories 20 Years Later tell stories of hopeful endings as well as not so good prospects. None of them lack drama and tension. Some of the marriages broke up while others lasted out; all of the protagonists, however, had to struggle at life’s crossroads. That is the case with Ivana and Vašek, two architects who managed to have five children, build a house and make an intensive business. However, great plans have taken their toll; the couple is struggling with their unmanageable teenaged son while their own psyches are not always willing to tolerate their rapid pace of life.
The six stories also include the story of Marcela, a divorced horse breeder, who not only has to deal with the life without a partner and a lack of financial means but also has to cope with the handicap of her son and, finally, the sudden tragic death of her daughter. The great popularity of her story inspired Helena Třeštíková to make a feature film portrait Marcela premiered in 2007. Besides Marriage Stories, the film represents another observational project by the respected and awarded documentarist, winner of the prestigious Prix Arte European Film Academy Award for the best European documentary,available for the visitors of the www.docalliancefilms.cz portal.
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.