CzechMate – In Search of Jirí Menzel
Director: Shivendra Singh Dungarpur
Section: World Cinema
Country: India | Year: 2018
Language(s): Czech | Time: 429 mins
After almost a year of phone calls and emails Shivendra Singh Dungarpur managed to convince Ji?í Menzel to meet him in a café in Prague on 19 October 2010. And so began a conversation and a friendship that has culminated in a seven-hour long film that not only explores the deceptively whimsical comic films of Menzel but also discovers the fascinating world of the Czechoslovakian New Wave, a movement peopled by brilliant artists paradoxically making films funded by an oppressive regime but beautifully disguising their subversiveness through humour and artistry. Filming over a period of seven years, Dungarpur travelled extensively, interviewing filmmakers, historians, and critics who had been touched by the New Wave — and the line-up is impressive. Eighty-five personalities have been interviewed for the documentary, including some of the most prominent filmmakers from across the globe such as Woody Allen, Ken Loach, Emir Kusturica, Raoul Coutard, István Szabó, and Andrzej Wajda.
Shivendra Singh Dungarpur’s first feature documentary, Celluloid Man (2012), highlighted the urgent need to preserve Indian cinema’s cinematic heritage. His second documentary, The Immortals (2015), won the Special Jury Award at the 2016 Mumbai International Film Festival. Shivendra is the founder director of Film Heritage Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the preservation and restoration of India’s cinematic heritage.