Length / CzechMate: 448 minutes
Length / Special features: 23 minutes
Sound: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
Colour / Black and white
Original aspect ratio: 1.78:1
Languages: Czech, English, French, Hungarian, Polish, Russian, Slovak
Blu-Ray BD50 x 2 / 1080p / 24fps
Release Date: 13 July 2020
Epic, expansive, affectionate and deeply passionate, CzechMate – In Search of Jiří Menzel is an extraordinary documentary film, a labour of love by filmmaker Shivendra Singh Dungarpur. Its depth and scale are unparalleled in the study of the Czech and Slovak cinema.
Jiří Menzel’s debut film Closely Observed Trains (Ostře sledované vlaky, 1966) made a profound impression on young film student Dungarpur. Years later, he invited Menzel to meet him in a Prague café - and so began a conversation and a friendship that has culminated in this epic, seven-hour-plus film that not only explores the deceptively whimsical comic films of Jiří Menzel, but all of the artists who strove to make films that whispered subversion and rebellion often at the risk of their livelihood, or even their lives.
Filmed over a period of eight years, Dungarpur and his team interviewed filmmakers, actors, crew members, writers, historians and critics who had been touched by the New Wave - including Věra Chytilová, Miloš Forman, Vojtěch Jasný, Ivan Passer, Ken Loach, Juraj Jakubisko, Jaromír Šofr, Andrzej Wajda, Dušan Hanák, Štefan Uher, Jan Němec, and Miroslav Ondříček among them
Our world premiere, region-free, director-approved 2-disc Blu-ray Special Edition features the full and complete version of Shivendra Singh Dungarpur's remarkable documentary, and also includes two new HD presentations of Jiří Menzel’s acclaimed but rarely seen short films Prefabricated Houses (Domy z panel , 1959) and Our Dear Mister Foerster Died (Um el nám pan Foerster, 1963) - plus a 24 page booklet featuring writing by Shivendra Singh Dungarpur and extracts from the director’s personal shooting-diaries.
• Two-disc Blu-ray Special Edition.
• Presented from a new director-approved HD transfer of the complete film.
• Two of Jirí Menzel’s early and rarely-seen short films, available for the first time in HD:
- Prefabricated Houses (Domy z panel , 1959)
- Our Dear Mister Foerster Died (Um el nám pan Foerster, 1963)
• Image gallery featuring photographs and posters from the personal archives of Shivendra Singh Dungarpur.
• 24-page booklet featuring extracts from the director’s shooting-diaries.
• 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
• World premiere release on home video.
• Region-free (A/B/C) Blu-ray.
Directed by Shivendra Singh Dungarpur
Cinematography - David Čálek, Ranjan Palit, K.U. Mohanan, Jonathan Bloom
Editor - Irene Dhar Malik
Location sound - Adam Bezdek, Ivan Horák
Sound design - Mohandas V.P.
Chief Assistant Director and Research - Sunil Gopaldas Jhurani
Executive Producer - Teesha Elizabeth Cherian
With Jiří Menzel
and Věra Chytilová, Miloš Forman, Dušan Hanák, Juraj Herz, Juraj Jakubisko, Vojtěch Jasný, Pavel Juráček, Jan Němec, Miroslav Ondříček, Ivan Passer, Jan Schmidt, Evald Schorm, Jaromír Šofr, Štefan Uher, Drahomíra Vihanová, Woody Allen, Raoul Coutard, Peter Hames, Agnieszka Holland, Emir Kusturica, Ken Loach, Martin Šulík, István Szabó, Andrzej Wajda.
Shivendra Singh Dungarpur's acclaimed 2012 documentary Celluloid Man is also available from Second Run.
A great number films by the Czech and Slovak directors
interviewed in CzechMate - including films by Jiří Menzel,
Věra Chytilová, Miloš Forman, Jan Němec, Vojtěch Jasný,
Ivan Passer, Juraj Jakubisko, Dušan Hanák, Štefan Uher
and many others are also available from Second Run.
“I have just emerged from 8 hour of your miraculous film. [...]
It is rare to see a film - or read a book, for that matter - that grasps how, in order to truly understand the life of one man, we must also understand the world in which he lived, the social and political currents which formed him, how he seemed not just to himself, but to those who lived alongside him. CzechMate is all of this and more. You emerge from the cinema craving an entire season of Czech classics, and realising how much there is about this cinema that we in the West have yet to fully discover. You have given those of us who worship at the altar of cinema yet another incredible gift.”
“I think it’s one of the greatest and most fascinating film docs I’ve ever, ever seen. Breathtaking, really.”
“I must say, it was an unbelievable project. It wil change film history.” Peter Hames
“This expansive and intimate, eminently engaging documentary was a labour of love [...] that resulted in this astonishingly detailed and probing documentary on Menzel’s life and career, postwar Czechoslovak cinema, the New Wave and the political turmoil leading up to the Velvet Revolution and the ever resilient Czech cultural identity.”