Cinema PLUS

Saturday, 29 September, 13:00 – 14:41, Old Theatre – Reading Room
In the shadow
Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland 2012
directed by David Ondříček
Czech, Russian, German language, Czech subtitles

The trivial story of this noir film is taking place in Czechoslovakia before the currency reform. The film authentically catches the spirit of the 1950’s in Prague: the localities for shooting have been carefully chosen, similarly as the costumes and small accessories. The bleakness and the oppressive feeling of the stifling atmosphere of this period is multiplied by the entry of a state secret security officer into the story, thereby revealing secrete service methods of the day and communist regime mechanisms. The film was awarded 9 prizes of the 2012 Czech Lion, the most prestigious Czech film award, (the best film, the best director, the best actor in the leading role, the best screenplay, the best cinematography, the best editing, the best sound, the best music, the best production).
David Ondříček (1969) graduated from the Prague FAMU where he studied document, however, he had his debut with a movie Whisper. His second full-length movie was The Loners (2000), the film was awarded 2 prizes of the Czech Lion, 3 prizes at the Mannheim Heidelberg IFFI, 3 prizes at the film festival in Pilsen and viewers‘ prizes at the International Film Festivals in Thessaloniki and Warsaw. Equally successful and awarded were also his further films: One Hand is Not Clapping (2003) – a silver medal at the Houston International Festival in the category of independant movies and Grandhotel (2006) – the first night at the Berlinale, which won 2 prizes of the Czech Lion. In 2013 David Ondříček received the prize of the Variety magazine – Ten Directors To Watch, which points out the most interesting directors of the past year.
 

Sunday, 29 September, 13:00 – 14:27, Old Theatre – Reading Room
Velvet Terrorists
Slovakia, Czech Republic, Croatia 2013
directed by Pavol Pekarčák, Ivan Ostrochovský, Peter Kerekes
Slovak language, English subtitles

The documentary film is mapping unrealised terrorist attacks by three individuals – three stories from the time of „normalisation“ in Czechoslovakia (following 1968). On a serious as well as a light note, the film reflects a unique courage by people who had come out of the grey mass of obedient citizens. At the same time, it contemplates the relativity of views on their naive terrorist actions which were once considered serious offences, while today they could be thought of as heroism. With its approach the film is balancing on the border between a documentary film and a movie. At the background it loosens up the issues of morality and irrationality of terrorism in today’s world.

Pavol Pekarčík (1972) and Ivan Ostrochovský (1972) graduated from the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava, where they studied at the Department of Documentary Direction of the Film and TV Faculty. They worked together on the following films:The Lesser Evil (2004), The Wind (2004), Karakorum (2005), Uli Blaho (2008), Ilja (2010), Velvet Terrorists (2013). Pavol Pekarčík was also active as an assistent director to Martin Šulík and Iveta Grófová. Ivan Ostrochovský coproduced the films by Slovak filmmakers Erika Hníková, Marek Šulík, Jana Bučka, Pavel Štingl, Martin Šulík and Iveta Grófová. Peter Kerekes (1973) graduated from the Department of Film Direction at the Film and TV Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava. He is the author of the following films: Morytats and Legends of Ladomírová (1998), 66 seasons (2003), the short story Assistants from the film Across the Border (2004) and the movie How History is Cooked (2009). He also worked as a producer of the films 66 seasons, How History is Cooked and Velvet Terrorists. Peter Kerekes has a number of films and awards from various festivals of documentary films on his records as well. For example, he won the UNESCO Prize – A´L AFFICHE DU MONDE (Paris 2000), GRAND PRIX U.R.T. at the international festival in Monte Carlo (2000) and many others. Kerekes is one of the most significant representatives of the Slovak documentary production.
 

Monday, 30 September, 13:00 – 14:23, Old Theatre – Reading Room
Murderer by Profession. The Suffering of Judge Vaš
Czech Republic, 2013
directed by Jan Bělohlavý and Pavel Paleček
Czech language
talk with the director after the projection
In case of interest, this film will be screened again with English dubbing!

The semi-acted document presents a 96 year old communist judge and prosecutor Karel Vaš (who died at the end of 2012), who had more than 20 innocent people on his conscience as well as long-term imprisonment sentences given to many others during the political lawsuits in Czechoslovakia in the 1950’s . In the fabricated lawsuits he applied violent practices and illegal procedures which he had been denying until the end of his life. Not even after 1989 had the Czech judiciary punished his conduct. The film brings, in addition to contemporary documents, a unique confession by Judge Vaš himself, which is confronted with the survivors‘ memories and professionals‘ views. David Černý, an anti-communist and one of the most prominent visual artists in the Czech Republic acts as a guide throughout the film. The film was awarded the Prize for the Best Czech Popular Science Document in the Field of Science and Humanities at the 48th year of the international popular science film festival Academia Film Olomouc 2013.

Pavel Paleček (1977), historian, graduate from the Masaryk University in Brno and study stays at Max Planck Institute in Berlin (2003), University of Minnesota (2002) and Columbia University (2005). Researcher at the Institute for Contemporary History at the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. He deals with the history of communist persecution, history of science and international relationships. Author of books and film documents such as: The Communist Regime and Political Lawsuits in Czechoslovakia, (Brno 2001), Liquidation of the Remains of Nazi and Communist Victims in Czechoslovakia (Brno 2002), Exile and Politics: historians talking on the latest history and themselves (Tišnov 2004).
Jan Bělohlavý, director, cameraman, screeplay writer, editor, author of TV programmes. Documentary filmography: Murderer by Proffesion – The Suffering of Judge Karol Vaš (2013), Here is Šloufovo (2009), Short Ballet Life (2008), Kidnapping His Own Family (2008), Forgotten Journeys (2005). In addition to documentary films he runs TV programmes (Farmer Wants a Wife, Set the Table).
 

Tuesday, 1 October, 13:00 – 14:40, Old Theatre – Reading Room
Normalisation
Slovakia, Czech Republic, 2013
directed by: Robert Kirchhoff
Slovak language, English subtitles
talk with the director after the projection

The full-length documentary film reveals the shocking background of one of the longest and most controversial cases in the history of Slovak judiciary and is one of the most outspoken contributions to the permanent debate in the Slovak media environment (unfortunately just there). The case started in 1976 by the murder of a medical student and the later conviction of seven students from Nitra, at present elderly men, who had been considered the despicable „golden youth“ by the regime of the day. The director studied the case for 8 years and searched in the archives and for witnesses. In the document he reveals the hitherto confidential files, the games played by ŠtB officers and communist political elite members, evidence which had never been admitted by the courts. The seven men who had been sentenced in the case, some of them even for the second time in the early 1990’s when the suit was renewed upon their request, collaborated in the film.

Robert Kirchhoff (1968) graduated from the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava where he studied documentary filmmaking and dramaturgy. Since 2002 he has been the executive officer of an independant production company focusing mainly on the production of documentary and TV films. One of their major projects is a loosely connected series of sociological films Film and Society and a cultural magazine Alternative Archive. As a producer, or coproducer, he was at the shooting of the most important films of the Czech and Slovak documentary film production (Blind Loves, The Third Power Illness, As far as Aš, Obscurant and His Family). He is in charge of the following lines of study: Direction of Documentary Film and Author’s Documentary Film at the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava. At the same time he is active as a lecturer of film courses at the Summer Film School.
 

Documentaries by Nation´s Memory Institute
at a new venue: Karol Spišák Old Theatre in Nitra - Hall

dramaturgy: Daniel Kováčik and Tomáš Tvrdoň

Sunday 29 September 2013, 20:00 – 22:00, Karol Spišák Old Theatre in Nitra - Hall

Nation´s Memory Institute
We have survived gulag
Slovakia, 2008, 45´
script and directed by Ondrej Krajňák
Slovak language, English subtitles

Memories of prisoners of the Chief Administration of Soviet Camps system better known under the abbreviation GULAG. A dramatic, and also drastic, account of inhuman and absurd conditions into which also thousands of Slovak citizens had been sentenced after the World War II and during the dark 1950’s. Many of them have never come back and those who have survived will never forget. Neither should we. In the words of one of the former prisoners “concentration camps were factories of quick death. We had been sentenced to a slow death, death by absolute exhaustion.”


Nation´s Memory Institute
Guys made of dust
Slovakia, 2010, 26´
script and directed by Tomáš Vitek
Slovak language, English subtitles

The Scout movement had been a thorn in the flesh in all totalitarian regimes. Its pursuit and suppression smoothly continued even when the brown terror was replaced with the red one. The film is asking a question why this highly apolitical union had been an object of hatred by dictatorships. Namely, what Hitler and the communist leaders were after was to inject their doctrines, first and foremost, into the heads of young people. And in this field the traditional Scouting soon stood in the way.


Nation´s Memory Institute
November + 20
Slovakia, 2009, 26´
script and directed by Tomáš Vitek
Slovak language, English subtitles

What was it like on those chilly November days in the year 1989? Which events and personalities played what kind of role? And how have we, ourselves, changed since then? Initiators of the events as well as offsprings of men and women of the Velvet Revolution? Statements by personalities claiming that the revolution had not been their product but rather that of ordinary people in the streets who had refused to be drowning in the moral marasmus of the outgoing regime.


Spying is their mission
Czechoslovakia, 1963, 18´
script and directed by Jaroslav Šikl
Czech language, without subtitles

And, finally, a rarity, a short TV document shot by the Czechoslovak Television Spying is Their Mission is an illustrative example of propaganda, mainly the manipulation of the public opinion, in case of the so-called foreign diversionists who had, reportedly, been coming to our country with only one aim, i.e., to do harm. Today the naive methods of the so-called authentic documentativeness and faked evidence can seem transparent to us but we can learn a good lesson even here: what we see and what we hear may not always be the same.


Monday 30 September 2013, 20:00 – 22:00, Karol Spišák Old Theatre in Nitra - Hall

Nation´s Memory Institute
Candle protest rally
Slovakia, 2008, 25´
script and directed by Ondrej Krajňák
Slovak language, English subtitles

On 25 March 1988 state security corps harshly attacked a peaceful rally of believers who had come to Hviezdoslavovo Square in Bratislava to express their desire of religious and civic rights and freedoms in socialist Czechoslovakia. Until now, this event has been considered one of the most significant citizens‘ acts against the communist regime in this country and, at the same time, represents the beginning of an end of the red totalitarian regime that had started with the November 1989 event. The film is making use of a recording by a state security hidden camera, whereby it is possible to identify concrete participants of the rally as well as secret police agents. The document is supplemented by talks made by the initiators of this rally shot twenty years later.


Nation´s Memory Institute
In the shadow of time
Slovakia, 2005, 45´
script and directed by Tibor Macák
Slovak language, English subtitles

The film is recounting the story of Emil Švec, one of the numerous victims of communist regime brutality in former Czechoslovakia. Events that had radically marked his life present an exemplary case of barbarism with which the system suppressed human rights and destroyed the lives of people who had stood up against the totalitarian regime. Having had a first hand experience of the 1950’s political trials, he decided to defect from his native country in a stolen plane and fly to Austria. However, in less than three years Emil’s dream about freedom ended when the state security kidnapped him and brought him back to Czechoslovakia.

Nation´s Memory Institute
How I allegedly started World War III
Slovakia, 2008, 26´
script and directed by Juraj Brocko
Slovak language, English subtitles

The totalitarian communist regime had managed to concentrate immense power in their hands following the so-called “victorious February” (1948) which it often turned against its own citizens. One of them was also Karol Noskovič who was labelled a potential initiator of World War III because he had printed several tens of leaflets with an anti-bolshevik message. As a “dangerous anti-state element” he had a first hand experience of living in the adversely known uranium mines in Jáchymov.


The Execution
Romania, 30´
directed by Nicolae Magineanu, script: Marius Oprea
9 March 1950. The feast day of the Forty Holy Martyrs. Gun shots can be heard on the outskirts of the village of Spermezeu in the Bistrita Mountains. 24 April 2007. Experts from the Institute for Investigation of Communist Crimes in Romania, together with prosecutors and policemen, find human bones of six people shot to death – five young people and an old man. This is their story.

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