Archive of films Battle for Life / Bitva o život

Czech Republic
2000, 88 min

Section: Documentary Films in Competition
Year: 2001


A feature-length documentary by a trio of kindred filmmakers which captures life at the turn of the millennium in the village of Bystrá in the Orlice Mountains, Czech Republic. Each of the events presented in the film has been recorded through the subjectivity of a number of protagonists, and using records from community chronicles read by the villagers themselves, as well as contemporary amateur footage. Thus we become witnesses to everyday events and a variety of celebrations – a performance by a local group of practical jokers, a New Year’s Eve pub party, a fireman’s funeral, a pyjama ball, a parody of a May Day parade, and the reconstruction of a battle which took place during the Second World War for the neighbouring village of Janov. The filmmakers enlisted the help of certain expressive locals as actors who spontaneously enliven each of the more important village happenings. The history of Bystrá and the entire once-prosperous region (which today suffers from unemployment) is created from the participants’ memories which are either coloured by subjectivity or have taken on the form of local legends.

About the director

Miroslav Janek (b. 1954, Náchod) has worked with Godfrey Reggio, among others. He has shot a number of documentaries including Seven Ten Nečtiny (1993), Králík and His Guests (1995), Baroque Opera (1997), The Unseen (1997), Hamsa (1999). Vít Janeček (b. 1970, Nové Město na Moravě) studied history of film at Charles University and documentary film at Prague’s Film Academy (FAMU). His work includes the medium-length documentaries Family in the Desert (1994), New Ways to Continue (1997), Diary of a Pregnant Era (1998), Through the Deserted Forest (1999), and Fungus (2000). Roman Vávra (b. 1965, Prague) graduated from both the University of Economics and the Film Academy (FAMU) in Prague. He has made programs for television and shot documentaries: In the Fifth Row at Merta (V páte řadě na Mertovi, 1993), Once Upon a Time (Bylo, nebylo,1994), 1972 – The Lantern Procession (1972 - Lampioňák, 1996). In 1998 he shot his feature debut In the Rye (Co chytneš v žitě).

About the film

Black & white, 35 mm

Section: Documentary Films in Competition
Director: Miroslav Janek, Vít Janeček, Roman Vávra
Screenplay: Miroslav Janek, Vít Janeček, Roman Vávra
Dir. of Photography: Miroslav Janek, Vít Janeček, Roman Vávra
Editor: Tonička Janková
Producer: Richard Němec, Anna Becková
Production: Verbascum
Cast: obyvatelé obce Bystrá v Orlických horách/anglicky

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