Archive of films El Paso / El Paso

Czech Republic
2009, 98 min

Section: East of the West - Competition
Year: 2009

Věra Horváthová refuses to feel guilty for being Romany. And after her husband dies, she doesn’t understand why she has to move out of her apartment and give up her kids to social workers. For most of society, her existence presents a problem – luckily she finds people willing to help her. This story of a Romany mother, fighting a court battle for the right to raise her own seven children, was inspired by true events.


After her husband’s death, Věra Horváthová discovers that she presents a problem for most of society. After years of not paying the rent, she is moved into a small welfare flat where, despite the rough conditions, she tries to give her seven children everything they need. She doesn’t understand why social workers are trying to take her kids away, legal jargon confuses her, and she refuses to feel guilty for being Romany. Fortunately, she isn’t alone, but in order for her new gadji friends to help her, they must first earn her trust and enter her world. Following the success of The Brats (2002), director Zdeněk Tyc once again returns to a Romany story inspired by true events in which people don’t speak of love, but live it. This subtly poetic story, combining experienced actors and Romany non-actors, stirs empathy within the mass of society for their "other” fellow citizens. "El paso is a slang expression for attack, and we’d like – in a good way – to attack our viewers,” says the director.

About the director

Zdeněk Tyc (b. 1956, Rokycany) finished up studies at Prague’s Film Academy (FAMU) with the graduation feature Vojtěch, Called the Orphan (1989). Since then he has worked in television on a variety of projects including the drama The Road from the series Fireside Stories (1991), the documentary series That Strange Word Poetry (1996-99) and We’re Still Here (1996-2009), and the two-part music documentary Dvořák in America (1998). For HBO he shot the comedy series "Up and at ‘Em”. In 1993, his feature debut Razor Blades screened at numerous international festivals and was awarded the prestigious Fondation GAN Pour le Cinéma. Two years on, he opted for comedy with Seizing the Day. He returned to "more serious” work with the psychological drama The Brats (2002) which received support from the Sundance Institute (2000), and was shown in competition at Karlovy Vary and at the Istanbul IFF (Best Director). In 2008, he came out with Small Celebrations about a mother and daughter.


Total HelpArt T.H.A.
Kříženeckého nám. 322, 152 53, Praha 5
Czech Republic
Tel: +420 267 073 007
Fax: +420 267 073 836
E-mail: [email protected]

Falcon a.s.
Radlická 1c/3185, 150 00, Praha 5
Czech Republic
Tel: +420 224 422 244
Fax: +420 224 422 240
E-mail: [email protected]

About the film

Color, 35 mm
International premiere

Section: East of the West - Competition
Director: Zdeněk Tyc
Screenplay: Zdeněk Tyc
Dir. of Photography: Patrik Hoznauer
Music: Vojtěch Lavička
Editor: Vladimír Barák
Producer: Ondřej Trojan
Production: Total HelpArt T.H.A.
Cast: Irena Horváthová, Linda Rybová, David Prachař, Igor Chmela, Vladimír Javorský, Jana Janěková ml., Petr Lněnička, Leoš Noha, David Matásek
Contact: Total HelpArt T.H.A., Falcon a.s.
Distributor: Falcon a.s.


Zdeněk Tyc

Film Director

Ondřej Trojan

Festival Organizer, Film Director, Producer

Vladimír Barák

Film Editor, Film Editor

Michaela Syslová


Jan Bradáč

Distributor, Cinema Representative, Producer

Svatava Peschková


Linda Rybová


David Prachař

Actor, Actor


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