The (6) Years After – Pavel Koutecký’s Retrospective

Six years have passed since the fatal step of documentarist Pavel Koutecký which cost him his life. The event is easy to remember due to the Pavel Koutecký Award. Established shortly after Koutecký’s tragic accident, it will be presented for the sixth time this year. On this occasion, the DAFilms portal has prepared a selection of awarded films from last years as well as a large retrospective of films by Pavel Koutecký. It will be available online in the week from June 11 at FOR FREE

“One of the reasons why we have initiated the Pavel Koutecký Award was to remember and watch one of Koutecký’s films each year in the circle of friends and filmmakers,” says Jarmila Poláková, one of the founders of the Pavel Koutecký Award and producer from the Film & Sociology Association.

It is not a mere chance that Pavel Koutecký ranked among the association’s leading collaborators. Koutecký seems to have been predetermined for the position of a “filmmaker-sociologist” by his constant interest in the current course of events and great social topics. So did his signature style based on the method of careful, non-invasive observation. However, Pavel Koutecký only seems to have fulfilled this “role” in his works.

In the end, his films are too captivated, engaged and open in their relation to people both in front of the camera and behind it to be labelled as the result of scientific analysis; luckily both for the filmmaker and the spectator. That, however, does not mean that Koutecký is not admirably accurate and truthful in his social probes. He has been especially sensitive when selecting the themes of his films and primarily the “sociological sample” of his protagonists. The individual scenes of his films could be described and analysed at length. When former Czech politician Martin Mejstřík speaks in The Years After, 1989-1994 (only a year after the Velvet Revolution!) about his bitterness concerning the futile struggle for the Union of Socialist Youth’s misappropriated property, he basically describes the fundamental problem of the post-revolution economic transformation in a nutshell. When Ivan Medek analyses the character of Václav Klaus at a meeting of the presidential office as depicted in Citizen Havel, especially the Czech audiences will appreciate his exact and telling words.

Nevertheless, there are two essential reasons why Koutecký cannot be categorized “merely” as a sociologist. Firstly, there is the absence of any conclusions. On the level of interpretation, Koutecký, as a true artist, remains rather open; after all, what he cares about as a filmmaker is the story and the protagonists rather than data and knowledge. The second reason is closely related to the first one; despite the apparent objectivity of his observational method, the director remains firmly engaged in his story and primarily in his relationship to his “social actors” who never lose their unique personality in front of his camera.

Together with the majority of Koutecký’s fundamental works (The Years After, Citizen Havel, Prague Spring. Opus No. 1-3, The End of Czechoslovakia in the Parliament and others), the portal also presents a film collection including the winners of the previous editions of the Pavel Koutecký Award; A Low-level Flight (by Jan Šikl), The Tadpole, the Rabbit and the Holy Ghost(/film/2226-pulec-kralik-a-duch-svaty/) (by Filip Remunda), The Unwelcome (by Tomáš Škrdlant), Country of Dreams (by Martin Ryšavý) and Earthlings, Who Are You Voting For? (by Linda Kallistová Jablonská and Inventura civic association).


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