Slovakia, Czech Republic, 2023
directed by: Robert Kirchhoff
One of the best and most complex modern documentaries about the events that shook and shaped Europe in a stunning period spanning seven decades. Made in a combination of different styles, especially brilliant in cinéma vérité breakthroughs, this is a magnificent auteur's undertaking that was made during five years. It had its premiere at the major festival in Karlovy Vary.
This complex film weave begins, as in old legends, with scenes from the Kyrgyz steppe where two riders take a break by the fire and talk about the birth of a child who will bring great changes to this world. From those seemingly accidental sparks of fire begins the story of his rise and the path that unfolds before us into a fascinating fresco of dramatic historical upheavals from the second half of the 20th to the beginning of the 21st century, changes from The Internationale to the anthem of the European Union. This story about a controversial hero told in the spirit of the great "Citizen Kane" by Orson Welles takes us through different spaces and times where we meet many of the participants and witnesses of those historical events. An exciting documentary journey where we also meet Umberto Eco, Mikhail Gorbachev, Vaclav Havel and cult director Lordan Zafranović working with the actor who evokes our hero. In the center of that historical whirlwind, from the Prague Spring, to the Plush Revolution and today's events, Robert Kirchhoff tries to discover who the man actually was who summarizes all the contradictions of the events of different eras, through his actions and dramatically jumpy course of life.
A masterfully created labyrinth of continuous interweaving of past and present, in which center is the hero and his secret.
Born on May 7, 1968 in Nitra, Slovakia. Studied film direction at the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava, Master of Arts in 2000, Phd of Arts in 2006. Directed and produced numerous feature-length documentaries, many of which won significant awards at domestic and international festivals (Cannes, Venice, Berlin). Screenings and retrospectives of his work in New York - New School University 1999, Columbia University 2004, Anthology of Film Archives 2006. In 2002, he founded the independent production of documentary and TV films atelier.doc Ltd (www.atelierdoc.sk). Since 2003, producer or co-producer of some of the most important and award-winning Slovak and Czech documentaries. He works as a professor at the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava, where he teaches documentary film direction and author's documentary film. Lecturer at the Summer Film School in Slovakia or in the neighboring countries of Central Europe.