Film Journey into the Soul of
In its "velvet revolution" of 1989, the people of Czechoslovakia toppled its communist dictatorship and embraced democracy and capitalism. By January 1993, the country had peacefully split in two.
Today, Prague streetcars emblazoned with Coke and Marlboro ads glide past Benetton boutiques and McDonald's restaurants. Some Czechs worry that the country is being taken over by Germans and Americans. But the sheer beauty of this Renaissance, Baroque and Gothic city shines through any onslaught of commercialism.
In the early 1990's, thousands of American college graduates began flocking to Prague, where they could postpone entering the "real world," and live cheaply in a beautiful undiscovered European city. Throughout that decade more and more tourists crossed the statue-lined Charles Bridge in search of old world beauty-- previously hidden by communist isolation. Don't miss the bridge, especially at night when the lights of Prague Castle glint off the river, and the tunes of street buskers float in the evening air.
But what of the people who cross the Charles Bridge on their way to work every morning? Who are the Czechs? What is their history? What is their future? Most tourists who visit Prague and the Czech Republic know little of the people who call this historic place their home.
My Prague Springis an award-winning film that vividly humanizes a resilient people who have survived a tumultuous history. In the spring of 1990, a Czech-American filmmaker spent four months living with his Czech relatives, and opened an intimate window into an uncertain world. This unique moment in time -- when a country stood between its communist past and its capitalist future -- is available on DVD (see link at right).
Winner of the Gold Award at the 1993 Houston International Film Festival, My Prague Springwas also named Best of Festival: New Visions Documentary at the 1994 Berkeley Video Festival.
For more information on the filmmaker, click here.
Film by David Mrazek
This award-winning documentary film, My Prague Spring,is a journey to Prague during a fateful time-- put in context by the filmmaker narrator, a Czech-American who is discovering his distant roots and relatives. Humorous scenes of the everyday, intriguing on-the-street discoveries, and candid, personal conversations reveal the soul of an extraordinary country.
The music in the film is composed by contemporary Czech musician Jan Kolar.
Best of Festival
The Film's subjects
Among the people we get to know in the film:
21-year-old Vladka, a budding entrepreneur and former Marxist economics major, who is taking revisionary classes in the free market system and is living with her older boyfriend Radek.
Her strong-willed mother, Jirka, a force to be reckoned with, who is none too pleased about Vladka's living arrangement.
Vladka's father, Vladimir, who recounts the harrowing days after the Nazi occupation as well as the dramatic days and weeks of August 1968, when Soviet led tanks crushed the fledgling liberal government of Alexander Dubcek.
James Hill, a likable young Brit who has come to Prague to teach English and witness history in the making: an ancient country is being reborn.
...and the first shoe shine boy in Eastern Europe, on his way to millions.