MOVIE TIPS


A Town Called Hermitage - Poustevna, das ist Paradies!

Director: Martin Dušek/Ondřej Provazník, Czech Republic 2007, 74 min.

Dolní Poustevna is a town on the Czech–German border with an unusual history. After World War II almost all of the original inhabitants were forced to leave. Others have come for varying reasons to this town with no roots in order to start new lives. The adolescent Vietnamese girl Denisa is bored at her family's shop and saves up with a friend for a dream trip to her native country. A Sudeten German woman shares her sometimes moving recollections of the events of the war. A Dutchman called Dan is searching for a healthy way of life for himself and his family. Volker, an unemployed German in his 50s, loves Czech bars, markets and brothels as well as Czechs themselves, who he says know how to enjoy life. A group of mentally handicapped men from a local institute comment on the world around them. This film presents an amusing collage of the stories of the varied inhabitants of a 'rootless' to.

Baluty Ghetto - Zpráva o Lodzi

Director: Pavel Stingl, Czech Republic 2008, 87 min., OmeU

A place in the middle of Europe, marked by the horror of the Nazi's racial hatred: today, the houses in which 200,000 people died during the war are occupied by new inhabitants.. Before World War II, Baluty was a feared criminal district of Lodz. Following their occupation of Poland, the Nazis turned the neighbourhood into a Jewish ghetto for 160,000 inhabitants. A year later in the autumn of 1941, five transports of Czech Jews arrived. These assimilated Central Europeans found themselves amidst the highly traditional local Hasidic population, who spoke Yiddish - for them, a foreign language. They were made to suffer not only by the Nazi regulations, but by the Jewish ghetto council, which hated them for being different. Of 5,000 deportees, only 240 individuals survived the war. Today, the dilapidated houses of the Baluty district are inhabited by a highly unusual social group which differs distinctly from the remaining population of Lodz... as if the borders of the ghetto still existed. The link which brings together these apparently disparate images are pictures from Henrik Ross's unique collection of ghetto photographs, which were only rediscovered posthumously several years ago. The Baluty Ghetto is a timeless essay on a stigmatised place.


Doma tady a ted'

Director: Linda Jablonská, Czech Republic 2008, 26 min.

Czech documentary by IOM and Czech Ministry for labour and social affairs.Three young migrant workers reporting about their life in Czech republic.

El Paso

Director: Zdeněk Tyc, Czech Republic 2009, 98 min.

The Fiction film El Paso is inspired by the true story of a Roma widow and mother of nine children. The Horváth family in the film has seven children. After the the tragic, unexpected death of their father their mother Věra is left alone in a battle against the authorities. Social services apply for a court order for her children to be taken away from her and placed in institutional care. From one day to the next, they are shunted to peripheral social housing with just one room. The case between Věra and the city authorities is taken on by an ambitious young lawyer, who doesn't know anything about Roma culture and is not too interested anyway. After the success of his film Brats director Zdeněk Tyc returns to the world of the Roma, which generally makes us fearful and uneasy despite the fact that we actually know nothing about it.


Kdo mě naučí půl znaku?

Director: Martin Ryšavý, Czech Republic 2006, 92 min.

The documentary is about good ideas of uncle Ho, respect for teachers and a return to one's homeland... Or travelling through Vietnam in the footsteps of Czechoslovak-Vietnamese friendship. Who Will Teach Me a Half of a Character follows in the footsteps of former Czechoslovak-Vietnamese cooperation and seeks to sum up its importance in the lives of several Vietnamese citizens. The film also reports on contemporary Vietnam through the experiences of local people who are not separated from Czechs by a language barrier.


Seeking Home - Hledání domova

Director: Rudolf Krejčík, Czechoslovakia 1969, 34 min.

This reportage by Rudolf Krejčík, shot in Germany in 1969, could only be completed after 1989. It presents several Czechs, some who left their homeland following the Soviet–led invasion and others who had previously entered Germany legally as students or visiting professors. They are faced with a decision: to return to their occupied homeland when their visas run out, or to remain abroad. "What does home mean to you?" the director asks people whose distance from Czechoslovakia has been greatly increased by the arrival of occupying forces and the reinforcement of the Iron Curtain. In the context of those times this superficially banal question is given a chilling dimension.

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WALLS

Director: Arie Farnam, Czech Republic/USA 2008, 60 min., English and Czech subtitles

The state said they were mentally retarded, but they still got top grades. Pepa taught himself English and Anežka dreamed of working in the courts, while young Karel witnessed the conflict on Matiční street, where they built a wall between Roma and whites. The documentary film "Walls" is the story of three Romani children and their struggle to get an education and a real chance for their future. It is the true story of how children unexpectedly achieved a historical breakthrough in a situation that has confounded the entire country.

"Walls" was made in the Czech Republic in 1999-2000 by American journalist Arie Farnam and two film students Matt McClean and Dantia MacDonald. They set out to make an independent film about Romani children in Czech schools and ended up documenting the historic moment when children from the "special schools" for the retarded first won entrance to a secondary school and when the entire situation begain to change. The film is shown at American and European universities in courses studying systematic discrimination and social exclusion.


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