Previous film:

Late Night Talks with Mother

(Noční hovory s matkou)
Czech Republic 2001. Director: Jan Němec
With: Václav Havel, Ester Krumbachová, Marta Kubišová, Jan Němec, Karel Roden

VANCOUVER PREMIERE! ► Jan Němec won the Golden Leopard for best video at the Locarno festival for this highly-personal, highly-stylized film essay and self-portrait. Inspired by Kafka’s Letter to Father, the work combines a fictional dialogue between Němec and his long-deceased mother (she died while he was in exile abroad) with a history of 20th-century Prague. “After his return from exile, Němec delved immediately into filmmaking. Unlike his generational peers, he did not rely on existing structures and began producing films independently, continuing to develop a personal style without regard for generally accepted rules. Experimenting with digital video formats ... Němec turns a fish-eye lens on himself and his birthplace of Prague to create an experimental personal essay film, an ‘autodocumentary’" (IK). Popular Czech actor Karel Roden plays Němec; many of the director’s friends and acquaintances, including Václav Havel and Eric Clapton, have cameos. “A jewel” (Rotterdam I.F.F.). Colour, Digibeta video, in Czech with English subtitles. 68 mins.

preceded by

Oratorio for Prague
Czechoslovakia 1968. Director: Jan Němec

Using foreign financing, Jan Němec was making a documentary about the heady political freedoms of the 1968 Prague Spring when Soviet tanks rolled into Czechoslovakia. The film became something else: a unique document of the invasion and the end of “socialism with a human face.” Němec’s footage, smuggled out of the country, was widely seen around the world, and was later incorporated into his 2009 film The Ferrari Dino Girl (also screening in this series), which recounts his own experiences during that time. Oratorio for Prague effectively ended Němec’s filmmaking career in Communist Czechoslovakia. B&W, Digibeta video, in English. 29 mins.