Archive of films Moravian Hellas / Moravská Hellas
1963, 33 min
Section: Tribute to Karel Vachek
The film follows twins Jan and Karel Saudek as investigative reporters seeking the truth about the state of Moravian folklore against the bizarre backdrop of the Strážnice folk festival. An audacious medley of reports and staging approaches which caused quite an uproar as a revolutionary piece of Czech documentary filmmaking full of both ironic and insightful humour.
Karel Vachek’s graduate film offers us a documentary essay which is both a light-hearted and aggressive little piece, and also a parody of investigative film journalism. The Strážnice folk festival, backed by the cultural Party apparatus of the time, for years had little to commend itself to authentic folklore. In the film the event assumes the form of a bizarre stage spectacle with almost surrealistic elements that Vachek reinforces with unconventional approaches (commentary appearing as titles on screen, singing, declamations into the camera, feature etudes, the fusion of news coverage and fiction). The result is a stirring film collage depicting various characters, from crowd-pleasers, Easter egg decorators, kitsch artists and peddlers, to museologists and local residents, all of whom come up against the eccentric "identical” twin reporters Karel and Jan Saudek and a bored actress who appears as an extra. Using their special blend of irony and wit, they present us with the sad truth. Despite official calls for truthfulness and personal moral commitment, Vachek couldn’t make any headway at all with his film. After provoking fiery debate at the Karlovy Vary festival, the film took a long time to appear in cinemas, and was even said to have been banned by President Novotný himself.... The title of the film ironically refers to a statement made by sculptor Auguste Rodin who, during a visit to Slovácko (Moravian Slovakia), likened the tall, graceful local women to the beauties of Ancient Greece.
About the film
Black & white, 35 mm
|Section:||Tribute to Karel Vachek|
|Dir. of Photography:||Jozef Ort-Šnep|
|Production:||Krátký film Praha – Studio populárně vědeckých a naučných filmů|
|Cast:||Josef Lebánek, Jan Saudek, Karel Saudek, Alena Karpilová|
|Contact:||Produkce Radim Procházka|
|Distributor:||Produkce Radim Procházka|
Producer, Film Director
Director of Photography