Egon Bondy prophesies an inferno of global capitalism, Jim Čert admits to collaborating with the secret police, Jaroslav Foglar can’t find a bottle-opener for his beer, while Ivan Diviš makes observations about his own funeral. Director Jiří Krejčík can’t make movies and has a go at Vachek in front of the camera instead. In mid-battle, Karel Vachek goes down on his knees before the inventor of Semtex. This is the Czech Republic at the end of the 1990s. Vachek’s extensive film essay, examining the state and hidden mycelium of Czech scholarship, develops into a strange natural metaphor. The woodlands of Czech thought are interwoven, sustained and influenced by unseen threadlike hyphae, thanks to which even those that seemed withered and destroyed rise from the dead once more. The film itself becomes part of this process. Poet Ivan Diviš, shortly before his death, angrily points to the absurdity of resurrecting and meeting the living-dead Romantic poet, Karel Hynek Mácha; Vachek uses film to refute his words: both Diviš and Foglar died during the making of Bohemia docta, in order to “rise again” – not only during its screening, but also as events unfold in the story, where episodes shot when they were already dead are intercut with their “live” appearances. Vachek also rises from the dead as a precautionary measure. The film, which sees Vachek using complex “novelistic” editing techniques, was inspired by the writings of Baroque intellectual Bohuslav Balbín. —Karlovy Vary International Film Festival
Born in 1940. Studied direction at the Prague Film Academy (FAMU) under Elmar Klos. In 1963 he shot his thesis film, Moravian Hellas, in Strážnice, then-Czechoslovakia, about their traditional folk celebrations. The film’s unusual approach—blending humor and intellectual aggression—caused furor and indignation as well as admiration in official cultural and political circles. It took several years for it to be allowed to be screened publicly. As a director with the Krátký Film studio in Prague in 1968, Vachek shot the film Elective Affinities a legendary portrait of the protagonists of the Prague Spring during the presidential elections of that year.
He had to leave Krátký Film with the onset of the post-1968 “normalization” process, working in manual trades until emigrating with his family in 1979 to the USA via France. Due to his wife’s bad health, he eventually returned. In the 1980s he worked as a driver. After 1989 he returned to Krátký Film and, over time, completed an extensive… read more
my "stockholm syndrome" of a film. getting it is part of experiencing it. you start experiencing the movie long before you actually watch it. like a pilgrim to an unknown place.