This is one of the documentary films that the director made that inspired his fictional film about boy prostitutes, “Mandragora” in 1997.
“Interviews with a procurer and with nineteen boys and young men who are prostitutes in Prague. The youths range in age from 14 to 19. They hustle at the central train station and at clubs. Most of their clients are foreign tourists, many are German. The youths talk about why they hustle, their first trick, prices, dangers, what they know about AIDS, their fears (disease and loneliness), and how they imagine their futures. The film’s title, its liturgical score, much of it elegiac, and shots of the city’s statues of angels underline the vulnerability and callow lack of sophistication of the young men.” Continue reading
Photographer Frantisek Drtikol
The documentary film “The Photographer Frantisek Drtikol” by the director Jiri Holna (28 min, 2002) drawn from Drktikol’s diaries and private correspondence, includes the recollections of Drtikol’s daughter Ervina Bokova, as well as part of a short film by Drtikol from 1920.
“Man can never be lazy and indifferent to flashes of beauty:
he must collect them, keep them and treat them well,
because in a while they disappear as footprints in sand.”
This documentary is about world-famous Czech photographer, painter and philosopher Frantisek Drtikol (1883-1961). Continue reading
Six outwardly average individuals have elaborate fetishes they indulge with surreptitious care. A mousy letter carrier makes dough balls she grotesquely ingests before bed. A shop clerk fixates on a TV news reader while he builds a machine to massage and masturbate him. One of his customers makes an elaborate chicken costume for a voodoo-like scene with a doll resembling his plump neighbor. She, in turn, has a doll that resembles him, which she whips and dominates in an abandoned church. The TV news reader has her own fantasy involving carp. Her husband, who is indifferent to her, steals materials to fashion elaborate artifacts that he rubs, scrapes and rolls across his body.
A young convict gets a few days off after a suicide attempt, so that he may regain his strength. He heads back to places closely linked to his youth, during which he gets acquainted with a lonely village teacher…. This film with the lead star Petr Čepek could not be shown in cinemas before the revolution due to the participation of Kristýna Hanzalové, the Czechoslovak Miss of 1969, who emigrated before the film’s premier. (official distributor’s text) Continue reading
Synopsis: Who knows what evil lurks behind your television screen? Czech writer/director Jan Sverak offers a possibility in this satirical tale of televisions that suck the life-force from every living thing. Our hero is Olda, who found himself suffering from extreme lethargy after he is interviewed on a tabloid television show. The puzzled doctors at the hospital have no clue why he is so weak and tired. But Fisarek, a strange natural healer, suggests that the cause is chronic energy loss. Fisarek teaches Olda techniques for drawing energy from the life-forces of people (especially children), trees, and art. To gain strength, Olda must also engage in tantric sex with beautiful women at a Turkish spa. The trouble is, every time Olda is near a TV screen he becomes totally lethargic again. Olda is making love with Anna, his new love, when a sprung mousetrap activates a TV remote that sucks Olda’s power, bounces it off a satellite and uses it to power a pornographic program. Olda, realizing the problem becomes a television avenger, vowed to stopping the demonic screens at all costs. Continue reading
Variety: Nominated for eight Crystal Lions (the Czech Republic’s equivalent of the Oscars), and a substantial domestic hit, war film “Tobruk” reps a solid work of craftsmanship in every department. Story of a bunch of grunts who get shipped out during WWII to the North African frontline in Tobruk, Libya, doesn’t score many points for originality, but the pic tells its tale well, without sentimentality, and features vigorous, intense action sequences. In a healthier economic climate, writer-helmer Vaclav Marhoul’s sophomore feature might have flown the Czech flag in cinemas offshore, but these days its best shot is in ancillary pickups. Continue reading
Noční hovory s matkou is Jan Němec’s stylized autobiography, in an open, confessional style. He talks to characters such as his mother, an eye doctor, his ex-wife Ester Krumbachová, and his friend, a film director named Pavel Juráček, all of whom have passed away. During the way through Prague, from Vaclavské náměstí to a crematorium he recalls his life and his friends.
More cinematic confession than documentary, this captivating, innovative film diary finds Czech New Wave director Jan Nemec attempting to unravel the threads of a difficult relationship with his deceased mother. In an imaginary dialogue with her, Nemec effectively interweaves episodes from his personal life with major events of the 20th century. Inspired by Kafka’s Letter to My Father, this is “an artistic and technical tour de force” (Cineaste) Continue reading