PRODUCTION: Karel Vachek Shooting Communism

    Communism by Karel Vachek Communism by Karel Vachek

    PRAGUE: Karel Vachek, the head of the documentary department at FAMU and one of the most original Czech filmmakers known for his experimental, enormously lengthy film essays, is shooting the decades-leaping documentary Communism.

    In the film, dedicated to the history of revolutions, he concentrates on the last three revolutions which he has personally experienced: the revolutions of 1948, 1968 and 1989. Vachek puts forward the premise that the next revolution will take place on the internet and bureaucrats will only carry out tasks which have been approved by citizens in referendums. He posits that it will be no idyllic stroll - even the French Revolution was horrific, but nonetheless, thanks to it we became citizens. Karel Vachek, as one of the film's protagonists, is constantly swapping Bertolt Brecht and Samuel Beckett masks and thus in disguise accompanies the audiences through a collage composed of staged passages of utopian and contemporary literature, his own memories, and a tableaux of world events. 

    Viewers of Communism will have the privilege of seeing valuable rare material, never used before: namely Vachek's own shots taken during and after the occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1968. The material, which he had hidden at the time in a colleague’s house, was supposedly lost until a few years ago, when it was re-discovered in the National Film Archive. It becomes an important part of the new film. The speech of one of the key Czech communist politicians Josef Smrkovský filmed by Vachek, accompanies his images of a young man who, in the name of Jan Palach's legacy, severely burnt himself and died shortly after the shots were taken.

    The Czech/Slovak coproduction, produced by Mikuláš Novotný and Radim Procházka from Background Films and coproduced by Slovak Atelier.doc of Robert Kirchhoff, the Czech Television and UPP, was supported by the Czech State Cinematography Fund with 3.5 m CZK / 130,700 EUR. According to the producers, the work on the documentary will continue for another year, with release planned for late 2018.

    Production information:

    Background Films
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    Czech Television




    Screenplay and direction: Karel Vachek
    DoP: Karel Slach