What could Fiala say to Fico? Dude or what? We recorded the words of director Holland

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“Are we the Czech Republic and Poland and Hungary and Slovakia now? Is it so divided now, these four post-communist countries of ours? Is it two plus two?” asked moderator Jakub Železný. “It looks like that and, dear friends, I hope it stays that way,” answered director Agnieszka Hollandová. “That’s a bit up to us, next year,” added Železný. It happened on Tuesday in the Václav Havel Library. However, the recording of the event did not reach the Havel Channel as promised. ParlamentníListy.cz was there and brings some moments.


Franz – Kafka swallowed the Golem

At the Evening with Agnieszka Holland in the Václav Havel Library, only registered interested parties got in and it was crowded. The library invited the conversation with the words: “This year, the European cultural community is commemorating the 100th anniversary of the death of a prominent German writer from Prague as the Year of Franz Kafka.” It is a great honor for us that our invitation has been accepted by the world-renowned Polish film director Agnieszka Holland, who is currently shooting a feature film in the Czech Republic inspired by this fascinating author.” The evening was hosted by Železný, and the library promised on its website: “Dear friends, the capacity The VH libraries were full, but you can also watch the debate from the recording, which you can find on the Havel Channel. Thank you for your understanding.” The Havel Channel does offer an interview with Holland, but conducted by film critic Kamil Fila and not a recording of the evening. Promises, Promises!

Among other things, the director said about Kafka: “He was the first to predict and describe totalitarian regimes… Kafka can be interpreted in any way… What has been written about him is such a quantity that it is something like a flood… When normalization came, Kafka was not printed because the communists saw him a bit like Orwell and basically the enemy… When the Velvet Revolution and capitalism came, it turned out that Kafka was a fantastic business for the Czechs. It became the main attraction… We observed it after all the souvenir shops. I can tell you that he swallowed the Golem and Švejk no longer exists. No one in the West knows Švejk, let alone Asia. Even Krteček…” To this, Železný remarked: “He’s already Chinese, unfortunately he’s not quite ours anymore.”

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The film will probably be called Franz, as it sounds in an interview with Fila, which is purely in the spirit of the film. The filmmakers approach the film more intimately. It is said that when the director realized this year’s anniversary, she was glad that the filming was delayed by a year, because then its premiere does not fit into the annual calendar and the story is filmed more freely.


The border – legalized cruelty

So far, Holland’s latest film is called Hranice, and it aroused passionate reactions in Poland last year. The deputy head of the government at the time, Jaroslaw Kaczyński, characterized it as a “shameful and repulsive rascal”. In the Havel Library, the director commented on this: “It was a shock, and it seemed to us filmmakers that it was a necessary shock, because we are in a period in the history of the world and Europe, when if we don’t wake up, we’ll wake up to another world, because it will be too late. The government of the time, which for God’s sake lost the election, made the film a target of hatred, and I found myself between the target and the government.” She also jokingly added: “It was quite uncomfortable for a while, but it helped the success of the audience. No one has ever given me such great publicity as the Polish government. Priceless. It was millions. The value of that advertisement exceeded the film’s budget. Then we tried to ‘provoke’ it in other countries, but it was no longer possible. So the film is traveling the world beautifully, but nowhere has it had such success.”


According to Holland, the Polish government disliked the truth: “There are governments that hate the truth.” You can’t do anything about it. They are allergic to the truth, and sometimes that allergy manifests itself very brutally. The only cure for that is to get rid of that government.” Železný then asked if the mood in Poland had changed under the current government of Donald Tusk. Holland answered: “We are still a very polarized society. The feeling of the possibility that something depends on us, on people who do not agree with such an authoritarian and propagandist vision of the world, but it is priceless… Not much has changed on the Polish-Belarusian border. The EU and migration policy is equally powerless and resorts to more or less legalized cruelty and violence, as the only options to deal with it. So I don’t see a change. But the language has changed. They don’t speak in an overtly racist way…”


Jakub Železný mentioned that at the recent summit of EU prime ministers, we saw the Czech Prime Minister Fiala greeting Tusk with the words “Hello Donald” with a smile and then the Slovak “Hello Robert” and the Hungarian “Hello Viktor” and he was criticized that he should have been stricter with them and tougher. “What could he have said? You dude or what?”, the creator of the film Borders responded, and then followed the reactions recorded at the beginning of the article. But then the Hollands left politics for life. For example, they talked about how she was in the “hole” in the Ruzyne prison and “mediated verbal sex” from one neighboring cell to another. And they also devoted themselves to her other films, which she made – not counting serials, documentaries and short films – in her thirties.


Mr. Jones – The Corrupt Media

Towards the end of the meeting, a listener asked her about the movie Mr. Jones. The latter is about the British journalist Gareth Jones, who under Stalin, despite the official authorities and agents who were guarding him, got to the famine-ravaged Ukraine between 1932 and 1933. He tried to convince Britain and the world of what he saw and experienced with his own eyes.


At first, it is said that the Hollands did not want to discuss the subject of the famine, because they had been devoted to the Holocaust for a long time. But then, as she said, “I realized it was a duty. Nazi crimes are described, communist crimes are forgotten and forgiven. The world basically doesn’t know about it and doesn’t want to know. And to add to that, when I was hesitating whether I should do it or not, a research was published in Russia where they asked who is the greatest Russian. Joseph Stalin won it. So I said to myself: ‘Well, we’re screwed’. All it takes is for Adolf Hitler to win similar research in Germany and we’re back where we started.”

Later, the Polish director Agnieszka Holland added: “It’s also a film about the media. It seemed to me to be very timely as our countries become more and more polarized, which also applies to the media. Facts no longer matter. In a certain way, and this applies not only to para-fascist and totalitarian regime supporters, but also to democratic media, that they are not looking for the truth, but what is convenient. The film shows a man who does not want to succumb to it. When the media is corrupt, politicians are cowards and society is indifferent, democracy cannot survive…”

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author: Jan Rychetsky


The article is in Czech

Tags: Fiala Fico Dude recorded words director Holland

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