neděle 28. října 2012

FilmNight in Joes: Loners (2000) in czech with english subtitles

Pretoriusstraat 43, 1092 EZ Amsterdam
Sunday, 4th. of November.
Film night at Joe’s Garage, nice and cozy cinema! Doors open at 20:00, film begins at 21:00, free entrance. You want to play a movie, let us know: joe [at] squat [dot] net


A generation comedy directed by David Ondříček (and written by Petr Zelenka) developing several interconnected stories of young people living in present day Prague, for various reasons they are unable to cross beyond the confines of their own egos and effect deep relationships. The narrative consists of many bizarre comic motifs, which sometimes overshadow the serious main subject. The film was very popular among young Czechs, thanks also to its use of modern music and catchy phrases.

The screenplay
Petr Zelenka, the author of the screenplay, says: "In 1995 I had an idea to map in a documentary way, using a digital video camera, the lives of my closest friends and parents as we approached thirty - a sort of settling of accounts with my environment. In 1996 Olga Dabrowská and I wrote the first version of the screenplay. At a time when many among us were "loners", we tried to examine relationships and ways of living together other than marriage. I wanted to show loneliness not only as a handicap, but also as a state of mind that one can use for thinking about life."
Thanks to this text Petr Zelenka received a stipend from the Literary Fund. Further versions of screenplay were developed already together with David Ondricek. From a psychological feeler into human relationships the story moved to a comedy level full of little tragicomedy moments, the life is full of. The final version was ready before the start of the shooting in September 1999. We received the grant from the Ministry of Culture.
The main producer of the film is Lucky Man Films, a production company founded by David Ondricek in June 1999. He founded his own company to have the chance to realize the film according to his ideas. The name of the company was devised by David Ondricek: "I like the "Free cinema" movement, particularly the films of Lindsay Anderson. He shot his film "Oh, Lucky Man" in 1971 with my father as a cameraman. So I sort of wanted to dedicate my company to both."
After finishing Loners, the company will continue to work in film production.
We succeeded to gain for our intention Czech Television that became one of the co-producers of Loners. It has been one of the main producers of Czech films for the past ten years.
The distributor CinemArt decided to be not only the distributor of the film but to be involved in co-production as well. This company is one of the main distributors of foreign art films to Czech cinemas and has also been the distributor of several successful recent Czech films.
The casting was long and quite particular. David Ondricek searched for actors who would maximally suit his ideas in various theatres, films, and TV programs for months before the actual casting. The casting itself took nearly four months before he managed to find the most suitable actor for each role. In the end, it became a priority that most of the actors chosen not have great experience in film, because their means of accessing their characters would then come from the inside, from internal searching and not out of bad film techniques.
Petr Zelenka had offered the role of Vesna to Labina Mitevská when they met each other while she was serving in the jury and he was in competition with Buttoners at the Cottbus festival. Because she liked the story and she knew Zelenka and Ondricek's previous films, she came to Prague to meet David Ondricek.
During the Shoot
The shoot took in all 61 shooting days, from September 25th to December 12th 1999. It was also quite a long shoot, because the intention of the creators was to shoot Loners solely in real locations, in a large number of places, and also to insure that the maximum effort was made to make each shot perfectly in accord with their ideas. Loners were shot in places typical of today's life in Prague, places usually avoided by tourists - and filmmakers. Among the locations for shooting were the former factory hall in Karlin, the area surrounding the Main Railway Station, the residential quarters of Letna and Holesovice, the Rock Café and the bar La Casa Blue.
Now, the work to finish the film continues. Together with Michal Lansky, David Ondricek edits Loners at the electronic editing room Mouse & Cut. The sound production will be done by the studio Cinemasound, the only studio in Central Europe equipped with the technique Dolby Digital norm, compatible with DVD.
In conjunction with premiere of Loners, a SOUNDTRACK will be released, featuring original music by Jan P. Muchow, recognized artist of the European musical scene, and songs by such Czech and foreign groups as Ohm Square, Ecstasy of St. Theresa, Morcheeba, Moloko etc.
Zajímavosti: Natáčení trvalo 65 dní, což je na české poměry docela hodně. [--] David Ondříček během natáčení onemocněl a tři dny za něj režíroval Petr Zelenka s Ondříčkem na telefonu. [--] Ústřední skladba "Lucky Boy", která k filmu neodmyslitelně patří. Jan P. Muchow ji natočil v paneláku na domácí záznamové zařízení spolu s dalšími skladbami jako demo. Většina se jich pak přetočila pro film znovu, kromě "Lucky Boy", která je ve filmu i na soundtracku v původní panelákové verzi. [--] Taxikář, kterému rupnou nervy při jízdě je herec Otta Filip, který se ale opravdu příležitostně živí i jako taxikář. Rána pěstí ve scénáři nebyla. [--] Záběr siluet u noční řeky, na které přilétá hejno racků se povedl díky házení drobků do řeky z mostu, aby se ptáci nalákali na správné místo. [--] Holka na fotkách, které si prohlíží postava Jakuba, když si uvědomí, že nějakou holku vlastně má (na fotkách je loučení na nádraží) je ve skutečnosti přítelkyně režiséra filmu Davida Ondříčka. Těmito fotkami také začalo celé natáčení filmu na hlavním nádraží. [--] Ondříček po prvním přečtení scénář odmítnul, filmu se chopil až na doporučení Jana P. Muchowa. [--] Jitka Schneiderová byla poslední osazenou herečkou z hlavních rolí. S obsazením Hanky byl při castingu největší problém. [--] Japonce hrají ve filmu Mongolové.

středa 17. října 2012


Every week, Jeffrey Babcock shows unique movies in English or with English subtitles at a number of venues in Amsterdam, as part of his underground cinemas. He talked to AmsterDO about the ideas behind the cinemas, the evolution of Amsterdam over the years and the new building for the Eye, among other things.

There was a time in which Amsterdam was one of the freest cities in Europe. At least that was the impression American-born Jeffrey Babcock had when he arrived to the Dutch capital in the late 80s and decided to settle here. “I came to Amsterdam at a time when Amsterdam was an incredibly tolerant and diverse city. There was a normal economy, one in which you had a normal job in an office or a store, and there was also another possibility, and people could really choose how to live their life.”
That other possibility was based on squatting and the refusal to enter the dominant business model, but things have been changing over the years. “I saw here in Amsterdam so much culture that was disconnected from business, in terms of cinema and everyday life, and I wanted to keep that alive. I see myself refusing to be incorporated into the mainstream commercial business model. That’s why I created a series of cinemas throughout the city.”
The cinemas he refers to are a series of places that host regular screenings, such as De Nieuwe Anita, OT301, De Slang, Filmhuis Cavia or Wilhemina Pakhuis. They are free or reasonable prized, and the movies range from “big budget films to absolute trash films,” from American ones such as Richard Linklater’s “Waking Life” to the first Lars Von Trier movie, “The Element of Crime”. “The only real criterion is that every film I show has something absolutely unique about it, which makes it different than any other movie ever made. It could be a trashy movie, have no budget, or could be a big film, as long as it is not a formula.”
The idea behind the cinemas, as it happens with all good things, is quite simple: to gather together around a movie. Jeffrey introduces the movie and is available for discussion afterwards. The small sizes of the locations favour a sense of intimacy and friendship. “What I’m trying is to get people back together again, and experience things and dream together. Watching a film is like being in a dream and I think it is very important to be in a whole room with people going through that experience together. And of course it is very important that people stay afterwards and discuss the movie, that there is a social interaction going on.”
He is critical with the art house cinemas in Amsterdam, which he considers too tied to business, with some exceptions, like Kriterion (“because it is run by students and is always changing, this keeps it more alive.”); and he also doesn’t have good words for the brand new building of the Eye Film Institute. “The previous building was one of the best of the city, right in the city centre. The problem was that the programming was so bad that they couldn’t get people going there, so they thought that they had to start a new project, which became a bigger building. For me this is doing it all backwards. I don’t believe that bigger is better, but everything is built in that direction. They are trying to make Amsterdam bigger, but the charm of Amsterdam is its size.”
Jeffrey Babcock has been running the underground cinemas for seven years now, starting at a squat in the city centre and continuing at De Nieuwe Anita, with sustained success. He announces the program one week in advance, so you haveto check the different locations websites regularly or, even better, drop him an email to be included in the mailing list (

úterý 2. října 2012

Jakub Polák, doyen of the Czech anarchist scene, dies aged 60

Czech anarchist, Anti-Racist and Squatter Jakub Polak passed away after a long term illness last week on Tuesday 25th September. Jakub Polák was born in Czechoslovakia in 1952. He became a political dissident as a teenager during the Prague Spring (1968). Because of his political activity Jakub wasn’t allowed to study in university. This made him even more involved in the various underground and dissident movement activities.
Jakub Polák was actively participating in numerous anarchist activities after the fall of “Communist” regime in 1989. Polák Joined Left Alternative with other left oriented dissidents and members of the underground. Polák joined LA’s anarchist wing which shortly became an independent organisation called Československé anarchistické sdružení ČAS; transl. Czechoslovak Anarchist Association. In 1991 ČAS started publishing an anarchist magazine called A-KONTRA which became notorious amongst left wing oriented activists back in the 90’s and early 2000’s. Polák remained involved with A-kontra until his final days.
Jakub was one of the first promoters of squatting in the former Czechoslovakia. He was actively involved in one of the first squats (Sochorka) back in 1990. Jakub was the last tenant resisting an eviction with other activists signing up for residency. The squat was resisting the organised attacks of right wing extremists and the outrage of Prague 7 authorities until 1997 when the city council decided to evict Sochorka. Squatters from Sochorka took defence positions barricading themselves inside with the wide support of other activists whom gathered outside. The police were unsuccessful, and the city council offered the squatters a deal. Squatters were allowed to move in to a different house called Papirna where the Anarchist magazine A-kontra had its office and press room until 2004.
A few months before his death, Polak was involved in the case of the relocation of inhabitants, moustly Roma from a house in Prednadrazi in Ostrava-Privoz, north Moravia.
To the general public Polák was well known for his anti-racist activities. Polák was enthusiastically defending the Roma community, in many cases he was acting as "attorney-in-fact," with numerous victims of racist and neo-Nazi attacks. Because of his involvement with the 1993 case of Tibor Danihel who drowned as a consequence of an attack by a group of Nazi-skinheads those Racist murders were brought to justice after never-ending appeals initiated by Polak himself. Polák was working as an editor for various Romani publications, including the Romano gendalos (transl. "Romani Mirror"), from 1993-1995, and with a news server until the end of his life.