The festival has been prepared by the Czech Centre in Warsaw in collaboration with the Institute of Documentary Film, Muranów cinema and distributor Gutek Film. The event also received support from Hoop Polska Sp. z o.o., member of Kofola ČeskoSlovensko a.s.
The Institute of Documentary Film, the festival’s main Czech partner, aims to support and promote Czech creative, author documentaries, and help them break through on European and international level. Four days of screenings, 7 feature films and accompanying program with meetings with the directors, Polish guests and discussions with the audiences.
The first two years (2014 and 2015), held in the Muranów cinema in Warsaw and the Nowe Horyzonty cinema in Wroclaw, attracted hundreds of cinema-goers; Czech documents were presented also in Krakow. The third edition includes the latest, most interesting works by Czech documentary filmmakers which have received awards at numerous festivals and inspired lively discussion on social forums. The festival will stop over in Wroclaw and other Polish towns as well.
For a number of years, documentaries have acted as a brilliant demonstration of the brightest parts of contemporary Czech cinematography. The authors of Czech documentaries still manage to surprise everyone with their fresh and brave takes on reality. The dramaturgy of this year’s Czech Documents, Please! focuses on a broad range of current issues concerning the Czech society. It introduces the works by authors offering Polish audiences an in-depth look underneath the established clichés and stereotypes in unusual forms, while presenting universal statements at the same time. The selected films also point out the less known – and very surprising for Polish viewers – aspects of Czech character and thinking style.
Three films presented within the festival concern the fates of Czech females whose biographies are larger than the usual life scenarios. Zkáza krásou (Doomed Beauty, directed by Helena Třeštíková and Jakub Hejna) shows the portrait of an important Czechoslovak film star, Lída Baarova, who became an enemy of the nation and a symbol of collaboration because of her relationship with the German Minister of Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels. Magický hlas rebelky (The Magic Voice of a Rebel, directed by Olga Sommerová) about Marta Kubišova is not just the story of a remarkable woman, artist and dissident; it is primarily a celebration of creative and personal freedom. Zákon Helena (Helena's Law, directed by Petra Nesvačilová) is a portrait of a Police woman who managed to get a few dozen people arrested within the so-called Berdych gang case in the 1990’s – including Berdych himself. The genuinely personal view of the young directed and her powerful, universal statement on the position of a woman in the brutal world of power structures make the film exceptional.
Other films about “uncomfortable” topics will be presented, too. Danielův svět (Daniel’s World, directed by Veronika Lišková) is a sensitive film portrait of the Czech paedophile community and the joys and sorrows in the lives of its members. The story of a forbidden love and the incessant fight to reconcile with oneself is also an expression of a desire for wider social acceptance. Everyday xenophobia is depicted by FC Roma (directed by Rozálie Kohoutová and Tomáš Bojar), the chronicle of the Děčín district league football club consisting primarily of Romany footballers.
The event also includes two films directly concerning the Czech national identity. The Česká pivní válka (Czech Beer War, directed by Jan Látal), “a national revivalist document on beer as the Czech nation’s destructor as well as saviour”, tells the stories of three “fighters” each of whom tries to win the battle for the golden beverage in their own peculiar ways. Amerika (directed by Jan Foukal) is dedicated to tramping, a phenomenon completely unfamiliar in Poland. The main protagonists start out a journey to the traditional tramp locations, nearly one hundred years old. The escape to an imaginary America gradually metamorphoses into a universal story of friendship, music and dreaming about freedom.
Upon invitation by the Czech Centre in Warsaw and with the support of the Institute of Documentary Film, the festival will be attended by authors and journalists who will hold talks with the audience:
Jakub Hejna – co-director of Doomed Beauty
Tomáš Bojar - co-director of FC Roma
Petra Nesvačilová – director of Helena Law
Teresa Drozda – journalist from radio RDC Warsaw
Please see the full programme schedule here.