školská 28



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In a Row, or Eight Hours of Karel Vachek

for the 25th anniversary
Sat 8.11. - 10:00

10-13h first section
13-14h refreshment
14-19h second section

A film marathon about the Czech soul entwined in six long documentary tableaux. In 1990, during the election campaign for the Federal Parlament, Karel Vachek starts shooting his New Hyperion, or Liberty, Equality, Fraternity (1990-1992, 207 min), and in regular period he manages to accomplish another 5 remarkable movies: What to do? The Journey from Prague to Český Krumlov, or How I Formed a New Government (1993-1996, 216 min), Bohemia Docta, or The Labyrinth of the World and Whorehouse of the Heart (A Divine Comedy) (1997-2000, 254 min), Who watches the Watchers? Dalibor, or The Key to Uncle Tom’s Cabin (2001-2002, 220 min), Záviš, the Prince of Pornofolk Under the Influence of Griffith’s Intolerance and Tati’s Monsineur Hulot’s Holiday, or the Establishment and Doom of Czechoslovakia (1918-1992) (2006, 147min). In 2011 Vachek finished his (until now) most recent film Obscurantist and His Lineage, or the Pyramids’ Tearful Valleys (199 min).

This DVD screening offers visitors an exceptional opportunity to watch six of Vachek’s cinematic essays — commentaries on the recent history of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic. Alas, but not in their entirety: the projectionists will choose segments from the films by audience vote, which creates a time-space collage — a nonlinear narrative, mastered by Vachek’s original directorial vision.

Admission free
refreshments at 1pm
with an appearance by the director in the evening.

Karel Vachek was 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 furore 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 at 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 poor 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 film tetralogy that portrays Czech society from the 1990s to the next century in his inimitable style. Since 1994, he teaches at FAMU in the Documentary Film Department, becoming its head in 2002. His films and professional stance have influenced many younger artists (e.g. Jan Gogola jr., Vít Janeček, Filip Remunda, Vít Janeček, Filip Remunda, Vít Klusák, Martin Mareček, Erika Hníková, Theodora Remundová). In 2004 he published the book The Theory of Matter.

About the Artist 


Karel Vachek
Karel Vachek and his granddaughter