FAMU Films History 5: Normalisation
The Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968 meant the end of the democratic reforms. Careers of many artists, including the students of FAMU, were interrupted. Lots of these students were allowed to graduate but their names finally faded away. A few years later, the communist purges affected the FAMU personnel as well as the whole concept of education. The main focus was on exercises for television broadcasting, students worked with given templates and scripts and often resorted to chamber sci-fi stories, war films or teen movies.
In these strange times, there were several talented students of film directing. Their chances of finding employment were very low. A lot of them made their feature debuts only ten years later (or never). Some got more opportunities (Emir Kusturica, Karel Smyczek), some less (Miloš Zábranský), others had to wait until 1989 (Zuzana Zemanová, Petr Koliha).
This year’s FAMU Films History will focus on student films that were made during normalisation. Some of these films are already available at the FAMU Films web portal, including Pub at Santa Claus (1973) directed by one of our confirmed guests, Vladimír Merta.
Jan Jendřejek focuses on the history of Czechoslovak cinema. He likes to explore the unexplored and root for the Czech films and filmmakers, especially for those who were able to win international recognition.