More than sixty years after its premiere, a unique Czech documentary from Tibet, made in the early 1950s, returns to Czech cinemas on Tuesday. Called Cesta vede do Tibetu or the Road leads to Tibet, the film had won several awards before being banned by the Communist authorities. Today it brings a unique testimony of places that have long been destroyed by the Chinese Cultural Revolution.
In 2017 director Marie Dvořáková followed the likes of Spike Lee, Robert Zemeckis and her compatriot Jan Svěrák in winning the Student Academy Award for her film Who’s Who in Mycology. When we spoke in New York, the filmmaker told me the short had a long gestation – and that she was currently working on not one but three new projects. But I first asked Marie Dvořáková what had drawn her to film in the first place.
The main prize in this year’s Trilobit film and television awards has
gone to director Marta Nováková for her documentary series
“Czechoslovaks in the Gulag”. The documentary series explores the fate
of Czechs and Slovaks who experienced the terrible cruelty of the Soviet
regime in the years between 1920 and 1950.
The lifetime achievement award went to the late director Evald Schorm in memoriam. The Trilobit awards are bestowed by the Czech Film and Television Union FITES.
Czech director Helena Třeštíková is the main guest of honour at
International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), the largest
documentary film festival in the world, which got underway on Wednesday.
The IDFA, which runs until November 25, is featuring a retrospective of Třeštíková’s work along with 10 feature films that influenced her career, including works by the late Věra Chytilová and Miloš Forman, icons of the Czechoslovak New Wave.
Among the other Czech works screening at the festival is director Jan Gebert’s documentary about Slovak paramilitary groups called “When the War Comes”, which won the Silver Eye prize for best feature length documentary at Jihlava this year.
Enclosed World by Karel Žalud has won the award for best Czech film at the
22nd edition of the Jihlava documentary festival. The four-hour work is
compiled from a Czech Television series of the same title that explores the
lives of prisoners and their families.
The Belgian film Vacancy by Alexandra Longuet took Jihlava’s prize for best foreign documentary. French New Wave veteran Jean-Luc Goddard, who also directed Jihlava’s trailer this year, received an award for contribution to world cinema.
One of the most anticipated Czech documentaries at the 2018 Karlovy Vary international film festival had its world premiere on Monday night. King Skate combines period images and contemporary interviews to map the tiny skateboarding scene in 1980s Czechoslovakia. I asked the film’s director Šimon Šafránek how domestic skaters managed to acquire boards in the late communist era.
This year’s Pavel Koutecký Award for Best Czech Documentary has gone to
Petr Horký for his film Švéd v žigulíku or The Russian Job. The
documentary follows a Swedish manager Bo Andersson who comes to Russia to
save the dying automaker company Avtovaz Car, the manufacturer of Lada.
The award giving ceremony took place in Ústí nad Labem on Saturday night. Over 80 documentaries were considered for the prize, with the winner eventually selected from a shortlist of five.
Pavel Koutecký was a filmmaker who died in 2006 at the age of 50, halfway through filming Citizen Havel, a portrait of the late president that subsequently became a great success.
Jan Gebert’s powerful new documentary When the War Comes delivers sometimes shocking insights into the Slovak Recruits, a group that run paramilitary boot camps and promote an extreme nationalist ideology. One scene even shows their charismatic leader extolling the virtues of Slavic blood in a talk at a primary school, while the film ends with the fresh-faced autocrat announcing plans to enter politics. When we spoke, Gebert told me his attention was immediately caught when he first heard about the growing organisation.