Czech's first retro-musical in over a decade

08-02-2001

Following an already prolific year of filmmaking for the Czech Republic, the first few weeks of 2001 have already seen five premieres of new Czech works. The newest release is a musical comedy called The Rebels, and opens in Prague on Thursday evening with English subtitles. Radio Prague's Pavla Navratilova was at the screening and brings back the details.

Czech audiences haven't been treated to a new musical film in over a decade, and the critics are waiting eagerly for this one. This retro-musical starts out as a light love story depicting the adventures of six teenagers in the carefree months leading up to the Soviet-led invasion of 1968, but also conveys the turbulent political influences of the times. I spoke to director Filip Renc, who emphasized the balance between politics and love within this film.

The choice of music within this film is important. Including both Czech and American music from the mid-60s, the soundtrack was completely re-recorded with Czech lyrics with the exception of one song.
The exception is the Mamas and Papa's San Francisco song which was re-sung in flawless English by the Czech, Jan Kolousek. The explanation Filip Renc gave for the inclusion of this song is indicative of his vision of producing a film which accurately reflects Czech nature. The 36-year-old director claims his earliest memories of the Russian occupation include a vision of his father playing this song at full blast in protest to the soldiers outside his flat.