This controversial feature blends documentary, archival footage and fiction into an elliptical narrative in which two young people in Prague, an ancient seat for the practice of alchemy, follow the trail for the mystical philosopher’s stone. History and future blend as brilliant montage sequences and fanciful leaps of the imagination work to posit questions about the legacy of the past and how it influences the individual’s personal freedom and responsibility
Jméno kódu Rubín has nothing in common with realism; it is a thing of fantasy; spiritual, artificially created reality. All my life I have felt that film is much closer to music than to anything else. It means that I work with fantasy, imagination, tones, rhythm, harmony and feelings. Film influences the non-rational spheres of human life. — Jan Němec
In “magical” Prague, flight dispatcher Michal and Rubín, who works for the National Museum, try to find the missing ingredient to create the Philosopher’s Stone. Their alchemistical quest—made possible by the discovery of a cosmic object by the U.S. space shuttle (who heads the Smithsonian Institute, not who occupies the White House, the film quips, matters most)—reflects on the role of power in world politics and on the twentieth century’s greatest evil: Nazism. (The Nazis had hoped to create the Stone themselves, boxes of confiscated formulas revealed at the end of World War II.) Blending fiction and documentary (contemporary, archival), Jan Němec’s Jméno kódu Rubín is the first outstanding film of the Czech Republic. Its sparkling wonder allows grownups to experience something of the same utter delight and fascination they did in their first encounter with Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Down this new rabbit hole, as Michal and Rubín investigate, all sorts of world figures pop up, including Václav Havel, first president of the Czech Republic, and Madeleine Albright, the U.S. Secretary of State who made unconvincing claims of belatedly discovering Jewish Czech roots, and whose hat when hosted by anti-Communist Havel tempts historical fate by its red flower adornment.
Architecture, paintings, drawings, sculptures, books—a weightless, restless camera surveys the past/present from every conceivable angle in order to fathom the modern Czech Republic, this continuity of culture being the quest “behind” the alchemical quest.
1.05GB | 1h 19m | 640×416 | mkv