Archive of films Forgotten Light / Zapomenuté světlo

Czech Republic
1996, 108 min

Section: Tribute to Boleslav Polívka
Year: 2022

Czech-American screenwriter Milena Jelinek shifted Jakub Deml’s novel of the same name to a period fifty years later. Although she didn’t experience the Czechoslovak Normalisation era herself, Jelinek’s vision of the all-pervasive deterioration of the time is accurate down to the last detail. Here Michálek proved himself an accomplished director with a sense of subtle testimony, enhanced by suggestive performances from Boleslav Polívka and the rest of the cast and by a cinematographic eloquence beyond words.


Father Holý, a young, easy-going and wholly good-natured priest, stands before a handful of his faithful flock in the derelict village church. He asks sarcastically: “Does God exist? Is it up to some committee to decide whether he does or not?” His question appears to encapsulate the stagnation of the Normalisation era, when everything, including the fate of church heritage, lay in the hands of party officials indifferent to past and present spiritual and material values. Holý knows that any battle against them or their minions cannot be won, and his helplessness and despair worsen with the gradual decline of a married woman with children whom he loves deeply. He feels lonely and worthless, yet he also has good people around him who, through their willingness and capable assistance, inspire both Holý and the viewers.

Zdena Škapová

About the director

Vladimír Michálek

Vladimír Michálek (1956, Mladá Boleslav, CSSR). Selected filmography: America (1994), Forgotten Light (1996), Sekal Has to Die (1998), Autumn Spring (2001), The Hunter and the Woodpecker (2004, TV film), Sandpit (2004, TV film), Of Parents and Children (2007), The Messenger (2012), The Rescuers (2003, TV series, 6 episodes), Mammon (2015, TV series for HBO Europe, 6 episodes).


Studio Fáma 92 s.r.o.
Jungmanova 5, 110 00, Praha 1
Czech Republic
E-mail: [email protected]

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: Tribute to Boleslav Polívka
Director: Vladimír Michálek
Screenplay: Milena Jelinek
Dir. of Photography: Martin Duba
Music: Michal Dvořák, Michal Dvořák
Sound: Radim Hladík ml.
Editor: Ivana Kačírková
Producer: Jana Tomsová, Ivana Kačírková
Production: Studio Fáma 92
Coproduction: Česká televize
Cast: Boleslav Polívka, Veronika Žilková, Simona Peková, Petr Kavan, Jiří Pecha, Antonín Kinský, Jiří Lábus
Sales: Studio Fáma 92 s.r.o.


Vladimír Michálek

Film Director

Bolek Polívka


Veronika Žilková


Jana Tomsová


Ivana Kačírková

Film Editor


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