Archive of films Peace with Seals / Mír s tuleni
Czech Republic / Italy
2007, 90 min
Section: Czech Films 2007-2008
This playful “documentary fable” opens with a quest to find the Mediterranean seal, once a common sight, but now almost eradicated by sun-seeking tourists homing in on its natural habitat. Rather than seals, the film examines the egocentric human species, which uses aggression to recreate the natural world around it with devastating results. Will we change our view and reassess the dominant position modern man has adopted towards nature?
How has our attitude towards animals changed over the last hundred years? The Mediterranean seal, for example, was a common sight off the coast of Turkey or on Sardinia. Now it’s one of the most endangered species in Europe: tourism has gradually forced it from its natural habitat. Director Miloslav Novák and Italian filmmaker and specialist in the species Emanuele Coppola, searched in vain for the creature: not even their attempt to lure it to shore by playing EU national anthems through underwater loudspeakers did any good. In the end, the filmmakers examined the fate of famous seals: Gaston, who was “liberated” from the Prague zoo by the floods of 2002 and swam along the Elbe all the way to Germany; and Odysseus who, in 1951, found himself attracting tourists in Rome’s Trevi fountain and allegedly inspired Federico Fellini’s famous scene from The Sweet Life (La dolce vita, 1960). Novák’s original film, whose creator describes it as a documentary fable, is not just about seals. It tells us more about the destructive nature of people who, in their negligence towards animals, demonstrate their anthropocentric arrogance.
About the director
Miloslav Novák (b. 1978, Dvůr Králové nad Labem) graduated from the SVOŠF film school in Písek and, after studying editing at Prague’s FAMU, worked as a journalist for the Czech papers Lidové noviny and Literární noviny. He continued with documentary filmmaking at FAMU while concurrently attending Charles University’s Philosophical Faculty. In 1997 he made the short film Dangers of Loneliness (Samota bývá nebezpečná – Special Mention at the IAFF in Annecy 1998). In 2001 he filmed the documentary profile J.C. – Experience with Expressionism (J.C. – Zkušenost s expresionismem) about the distinguished Czech film and literary critic Jiří Cieslar. He got together with Lucie Králová in 2003 to direct the film Ill-Fated Child (Zlopověstné dítě), which won Best Documentary at the IFF in Jihlava. During his six-month period spent studying at university in Cagliari, Sardinia, he made the film Is Mortorious, about blind people’s perception of hearing.
About the film
Color, 35 mm
|Section:||Czech Films 2007-2008|
|Dir. of Photography:||Emanuele Coppola, Jakub Halousek|
|Contact:||Bontonfilm, a.s., Taskovski Films Ltd.|
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