In September I had the enormous luck and privilege to attend the film festival Finále as a judge for the Student Jury Award for the best documentary. Why am I reminiscing about it now? It’s because I found out that one of the documentaries is available for online streaming, which kind of reminded me of my experiences. And my experiences were amazing and I wholeheartedly recommend you to, if you have the opportunity, to join the Finále team. Not only you’ll be part of something that supports Czech cinematography but you’ll also be in place to see what all it can offer, as you’ll get some free passes 😉.
I saw eight amazing documentaries, covering a wide range of themes. From the dire housing situation of the at-risk families in Brno or the bare concept of brotherhood in rural Bosnia and Herzegovina to the almost forgotten legacy of the Roma partisans. To choose a winner was a tremendous effort. All of these documentaries were amazing in their own right and I would recommend you to see them all if you could. But of course I had a few favourites for the Golden Kingfisher Award.
There was a movie from the queen of the Czech documentaries Helena Třeštíková called René – The Prisoner of Freedom. It’s a continuation of the story of one the most famous Czech prisoners, René Plášil. René is getting old and maturing, but still can’t keep himself out of jail, but because he is such a sympathetic character you’ll root for him anyway.
We also saw a documentary about maybe the most famous Czech rap band PSH. PSH Neverending Story of the director Štěpán Vodrážka shows sometimes serious, sometimes humorous or sometimes both behind-the-scenes of the phenomenon, which PSH definitely is. Even if you aren’t a rap fan, you’ll find yourself moving to the beat of these three.
Another great movie was Preparations for Film T. This movie is a beautiful poem about life, but paradoxically is about the end of the world. The director, Milan Klepikov, has created a work from the snippets from the lives of his young protagonists that you have to think about and will think about for days after watching it.
Then we have our pick for the winner – Heaven. Heaven is a tale of the orphanage for disabled children in rural China presented to the viewers by Adéla Špajlová and award-winning journalist Tomáš Etzler. The surreal feel of communist China combined with the hope and love of the children and their caretakers living in the orphanage will surely amaze you, like it amazed my colleagues and I.
So support Czech cinematography and if you want join the Finále team!