Three Czech documentaries to reach the cinema theatres

1. 8. 2017

Author: Marta Obršálová

Three new Czech documentaries are heading for the cinemas in the months to come. The first one is the keenly awaited Common Sense about Czech agriculture and the role of the politician cum entrepreneur, Andrej Babiš. In September, the audience can look forward to seeing a new documentary by Olga Sommerová called Červená, about the world-famous Czech singer, or a film by Jana Počtová Non Parents showcasing the different forms of parenthood and the influence of society on people’s decision to become a parent.

Common Sense by the directing duo, Vít Janeček and Zuzana Piussi was released on August 9. The film follows the same line as the book, The Yellow Baron, by journalists Zuzana Vlasata and Jakub Patočka, exploring the situation of farmers in the Czech Republic: how and why the subsidies work, why people grow more of some things and less of other things, why animal stocks have decreased in the last few years, and what consequences all this has on food production. The filmmakers focused their attention in the final edit on the country’s biggest “farmer”, Andrej Babiš. His role raises a number of questions also in relation to Babiš’s political path. One of the film’s main protagonists is a Moravian farmer, Bohumír Rada, who helped initiate Andrej Babiš in relation to the business of agriculture while their paths parted fundamentally afterwards.

As a director, Olga Sommerová introduced her latest film, Červená, to the audience in Prague’s Lucerna cinema on May 24 already. The document is the final part of the triptych on important women of the 20th century (Věra Čáslavská, Marta Kubišová and Soňa Červená). The artistic journey of the world-famous singer involves a multitude of opera roles on stages all over the world. She sang in hundreds of musical performances in ČSR, held a number of roles in her home opera in Brno, made films, recordings and gave concerts. However, the communist powers classified her as an enemy and blocked her way to Prague’s National Theatre opera. Therefore, she took advantage of the invitation she received from the State Opera in Berlin where she was honoured as a Chamber Singer. Her advantage was the unusual colour of her voice, absolute dedication to the stage and unfailing reliability of her performance, so it was only natural for her go be engaged by Herbert von Karajan for Salzburg in summer 1961. When the festive occasion was shocked by the news on the erection of the Berlin Wall, he offered her employment in Vienna which she accepted. The story of opera singer, Soňa Červená, is released to cinemas on September 7.

The threesome is completed by a film by Jana Počtová with a  fitting name, Non Parents. The author’s focus has been interpersonal relationships in the long term; her previous film, Generation Singles tells the stories of people who feel no need to live in a couple. Non Parents follows the relationships further, to the search for a partner and starting a family.  In her friends and acquaintances, Jana Počtová observes what people are willing to sacrifice to become parents. The film gradually introduces a single mother, father with a shared custody of his daughter, a single woman aged forty who adopted twins, a large, “sewn up” family, a lesbian couple with three children as well as a couple who decided against having any children at all. The film on the various facets of parenthood in the 21st century and unhealthy social pressure is to hit Czech distribution on September 21.

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