projection and discussion
Projection and discussion of films by FAMU graduates from the Third World
The theme of the evening is temporary residence of students from the “Third World” in Czechoslovakia and the attendant cultural exchange in the field of film, as well as the little discussed connection between Czechoslovak and post-colonial culture.
The Algerian director Mohammed Lakhdar-Hamina (1934) and the recently deceased Syrian director Nabil Maleh (1936-2016) are considered founding fathers of their national cinematography, key figures in Arab film. Due to their politically engaged and aesthetically radical work, they are also read and recognised on an international level. However, there is little acknowledgement of the fact that in the 1960s both studied at FAMU in Prague, a fact which necessarily influenced their work.
Other distinguished Asian directors to study at FAMU include the Sri Lankan director Piyasiri Gunaratna (1939) and the Tunisian documentarist Hafed Bouassida (1947), as well as dozens of other directors, cameramen and scriptwriters from various countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
A whole range of students from the Third World studied in the communist countries of the Eastern Bloc. This form of support was within the context of communist internationalism and solidarity with countries battling with the legacy of colonialism, albeit motivated by Cold War power struggle. Of the students who chose artistic disciplines, the largest number studied film, since this appeared to be an effective educational and political tool. The Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography in Moscow (VGIK), the National Film School in Łodź and FAMU in Prague thus made an important contribution to the development of African and Asian cinematography.
Although after their return home all the aforementioned film makers played a significant if not entirely key role in the development of Asian film, they left little behind them in Czechoslovakia, virtually no trace in the local cultural memory. The evening in the Ponrepo cinema is devoted to films made by these directors during or immediately after their studies in Czechoslovak production, and which remained stored in the National Film Archive. They are abandoned images, since today nobody lays any claim to them. At the same time they are witnesses of a forgotten tradition of internationalism and an important cultural exchange. They remind us of the role played by Czechoslovak art in creating pathways to cultural emancipation of countries with a colonial past, and raise never asked questions concerning the influence that these temporary residents had on Czechoslovak culture and politics. Incidentally, it is no coincidence that in some films of the Czechoslovak New Wave we find criticism of the racism that students from the Third World encountered. This was despite the fact that the mention of racism was taboo in Czechoslovak society of the time. An example of mutual influence is provided by the graduate film by Drahomíra Vihanová, a story of an African music student in Prague.
Monday 12 September 2016, 6-10 pm
Bartolomějská 11, Prague
18:00 – 20:00 – films screening
20:00 – 22:00 - discussion with filmmakers Drahomíra Vihanová, Hafed Bouassida and Piyasiri Gunaratna and curators Rasha Salti and Tereza Stejskalová
Pozor! Dítě? [Caution! Child?]
Nabil Maleh (Syria)
Czechoslovakia | 1963 | 13 min.
Znamení Neptuna [The Sign of Neptune]
Mohammed Lakhdar-Hamina (Algeria), A.F. Šulc
Czechoslovakia, Tunisia | 1963 | 17 min.
Zima v Československu [Winter in Czechoslovakia]
Piyasiri Gunaratna (Sri Lanka)
Czechoslovakia | 1964 | 21 min.
Fuga na černých klávesách [Fugue on the Black Keys]
Drahomíra Vihanová (Czech Republic)
Czechoslovakia | 1964 | 34 min.
Berberská rapsódie [Berber Rhapsody]
Abdelhafidh Bouassida (Tunisia), A. F. Šulc
Czechoslovakia, Tunisia | 1980 | 20 min.
Admission to the film projection and discussion is free. The films are in Czech language with English subtitles. The discussion will be held in English.
The evening is organised by the initiative tranzit.cz within the framework of its long-term research project “New Internationalism”.
The film research is the result of co-operation between tranzit.cz and the Czech National Film Archive. The project was established thanks to financial support from Prague City Hall and the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic.