Empire Builders and My Unknown Soldier – the newest additions in East Silver Caravan

24. 4. 2018

Author: Veronika Zýková

Two documentaries have been recently added to the catalogue of East Silver Caravan: Andran Abramjan's film about right-wing populists Empire Builders and My Unknown Soldier (dir. Anna Kryvenko) capturing events of the occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1968 from Russian soldier's point of view.

In the docufiction essay Empire Builders Czech anti-migrant and anti-Islam activists have decided to build an empire. But do they really believe what they preach? How does their surrounding environment view this activity? At the general level, this film – three years in the making and named after an absurdist play by Boris Vian – looks at the rise and fall of the popularity of right-wing populist parties. Specifically, it tracks the unsuccessful political career paths of Petr Hampl and Martin Konvička. Amateur reporter Tomáš Měšťan also finds himself at the forefront. Initially, he joined these “builders” as their cameraman, but later he actively participated in inventing conspiracy theories. The film also includes details of behind the scenes activities carried out by Block Against Islam, starting with the preparations for their election campaign, putting up posters and voter agitation, and ending with their creation and dissemination of specific-purpose disinformation. The film was premiered at this year's edition of One World IHRDFF.

When in 1968 the armies of Warsaw Pact invaded Czechoslovakia, not only Czechoslovak citizens were suffering, but also the occupiers, because they were often called in the army at the last minute and they didn‘t know the purpose of their mission. They tried to cope with the terrible aftermath. Director's grand-uncle was one of The Warsaw Pact invasion soldiers. He later commited suicide because of the occupation. In My Unknown Solider, Anna Kryvenko uncovers a family taboo: the grand-uncle was cut out of family photos by his mother who pretended he had never existed. This way the director uncovers other similar stories and themes. The premiere of this Czech-Slovak-Lithuanian documentary is planned for August 2018.

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