“Capitalism today, in which we are confronted, isn’t the Capitalism of Marx’s Age.”“Karlstein castle – smelly champignon from Karlstein.”“The worst of Marx’s nightmares have come to pass. That the class divisions of society will cease to exist. The proletariat, the ruling class, and the government will be taken over by a global oligarchy. Which is what is happening throughout the nineties… "
That is how Vachek chooses to open us to Egon Bondy in Bohemia Docta or The Labyrinth of the World and the Lust-house of the Heart (A Divine Comedy). Inserting a theme that continues throughout the film; a castle matched with a mushroom, even adding in an event apparently dedicated to the mushroom, even letting us know that 90% of Czech go mushroom hunting.
What is the mushroom? What is Marx? What is Bondy?
Mushrooms regenerate life. They resurrect it. They are the agents of reincarnation. Their relation to Marx and Bondy?
Marx is the ghost of Eastern Europe’s communist past… statues, and flags still stand from the old regime. His figure rising to the level of Christ on the cross, while his ideology was raped and continues to be.
Bondy too. A man that never stopped talking even when silenced. Allowed his time in this film to discuss his life, and views. His adulation of Marx’s ideology.
Film, art, and philosophy as the opportunity to resurrect the dead for the hope of the future.
this is 2 brainy 4 me :O(
and me, but seeing it’s a comedic work…
Two nudists are sitting on the verandah
“Do you get Marx?” asks one
“Yes,” replies the other “I think it’s the wicker chairs.”
Best thread title of the decade (yes, I’ve done exhaustive research).
The best thing about this site is that a recommendation for an unheard of film is always right around the corner. I’ll check this one out soon.
What about this one?
at least that is only 12 minutes of confusion :O)
Thanks for giving my comments enough respect to not spam the thread I started with annoying crap, guys… If you don’t have anything to say, why reply?
Zampano – I look forward to what you think… I have a feeling you’ll either love it or hate it… I should say it’s part of a tetralogy so you might find it better to check out New Hyperion or Liberty, Equality, Brotherhood first… I didn’t though and I loved the film, so… grains of sand.
I just put this in my watchlist :). It sounds interesting. But I might get to watching this not anytime sooner because of the duration and the size of the rip in SMz . Or should I not be intimidated by the length?
From what I understand from your thoughts on the film and the synopsis in SMz, with the use of mushrooms, castles, etc., this film mocks the incomprehension and irrelevance of political ideology in today’s hellish globalized society, where ultimately one has no more power, trying to make sense of what’s nonsensical and absurd in the first place. Or maybe this is the only way I understood it as I just got back from my sociology class and I’m just babbling here.
The film seems like it might be of relevance to me right now as I am trying to make sense of my own politics when it’s true enough that Marx’s ideas of the working-class overthrowing the bourgeoisie cannot be any more applicable since the progress of capitalist society from the industrialism to, uh, whatever it is now. Maybe the use of Marx’s ideology is not so much as being “raped” but are used to express general anti-capitalism sentiments.
So, in this film what is in the image accompanying the narration? Is it in the likes of Robinson in Space where narration accompanies static shots of places (usually relevant to the essay being narrated)?
I tried twice to reply, but the site deleted it both times… Nevermind… I’ll rewrite this tomorrow…
Thank you very much for this thread, Josh. I will try to watch Vachek’s tetralogy chronologically, but if curiosity speaks louder I might just start with Bohemia Docta or The Labyrinth of the World and the Lust-house of the Heart (A Divine Comedy) and get back to this thread. For the time being, a summary and the director’s thoughts taken from his official website:
SynopsisIn this film, Vachek works partially from concepts in his unrealized screenplay of the 1970s (bringing them into the present), and also adopts the first part of his title from historian Bohuslav Balbín’s (1621–1688) overview of figures in Czech culture. The other parts of the title refer to Komenský (Comenius) and Dante. In the film, at irregular intervals, shots of Bohemian and Moravian castles appear, accompanied by various types of mushrooms. While mushrooms form a stand-alone motif in the film—one that is visible in, for instance, sculptor Milan Knížák’s sculptures, “mushroom- collecting” figures, a “singing mushroom,” etc.—this apparently entirely Dadaist gesture foreshadows the second part of the film, in which the voiceover announces “castle Klíma” or “castle Hašek” (the latter over the grave of Jaroslav Hašek, on which a mushroom has been placed in the manner of a flower). This is a metaphor for the “landscape of Czech culture,” from which personalities protrude, castle-like, and which, in Vachek’s work, extends to blend with the real landscape, its forests interwoven with mycelium. “The forest of Czech culture,” in return, connects to, “nurtures,” and influences the hidden grains of the mycelium. With slight exaggeration, we can say that through these grains, Vachek moves “from mushroom to mushroom” and “from castle to castle,” a metaphor that also encapsulates the director’s method of cinematic composition and he film’s dramaturgical structure, in which, mutually and from various angles, individual motifs and concepts influence each other. Vachek demonstrates this approach within his film and also beyond it, for in various places the work openly connects to other films—to Jiří Krejčík’s Graduation in November (2000) (about which the two directors speak in Bohemia Docta); Vít Janeček’s Fungus (2000), which deals with the idea OF the rhizome and whose central figure is microbiologist Miroslav Vosátka; and Janeček, Roman Vávra and Miroslav Janek’s film Battle for Life (2000), whose principal actors are the residents of Bystry, and in which the “battle” for Janov that appears in Vachek’s film was shot (the film crew can even be glimpsed briefly in this scene). The connections Vachek draws between personalities and “worlds” go the furthest with the concept OF “resurrection,” a game into which he attempts to integrate even long-sincedeparted “learned Czechs”—aside from Hašek and Klíma, for instance, poet Karel Hynek Mácha. Poet Ivan Diviš, shortly before his own death, rails against the concept of resurrecting and meeting with the living-dead Mácha; in a clever way, Vachek (symbolically) returns to this polemic through his film: although Diviš and Foglar died during its production, through the film, they can always “rise again”—not only in the individual act of a screening, but also in progression of the film’s events (for passages in which the men are already “dead” are intercut with their “living” appearance without regard for natural chronology).
Karel Vachek on the filmIn my last few films, I’ve been interested in complicated editorial compositions. The creation of a novel in which a number of events both oppose and mutually strengthen one another. In New Hyperion I remade Elective Affinities, although even there I started to interweave scenes. In What Is To Be Done? I began to add my own voice and conclusions to the mix. And by the last film I’m present all the time. I’m doing this because the world at the end of this decade is even less cheerful than it was at its beginning, at least in the Czech Republic. It’s really deathly here. In my opinion, it’s just as deathly here now as it was before 1989. The powers are arranged differently and it isn’t as dangerous. But it’s deathly here. That means that I’m engaging in this world to stir things up, to bring some thought into things myself. I couldn’t have pulled this off before. Now I’ve allowed myself to do it, because I have the sense that I won’t spoil the game that the “enlightened” people are playing. And even more: I’m making the film in order to vex the “postmodern.”
—Martin Švoma, Cries of Reality: The Films and Film Projects of Karel Vachek. Master’s thesis, Philosophical Faculty of Charles University, 2001, p. 133