Menzel star turn and Slovak militia doc among Czech highlights at Berlinale

photo:  (

The first major international film festival of the year, the Berlinale, gets underway on Thursday. The Czech Republic is being represented at the prestigious showcase by three films, including one starring veteran director Jiří Menzel and a documentary exploring the life of a young paramilitary leader in Slovakia. Ahead of the festival, I spoke to Markéta Šantrochová of the Czech Film Center, who will be promoting the country’s cinema in Berlin.


“We have three films in the programme.

“Two of them are fiction films, The Interpreter by Slovak director Martin Šulík, a co-production between the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Austria, and another co-production, Touch Me Not, the debut film by Romanian director Adina Pintilie.”

And Touch Me Not is in the main competition?

“Yes. It’s in the main competition.

“And The Interpreter is in the Berlinale Special programme.

“That’s also connected with the Berlinale Camera, an award that the quite famous Czech director and actor Jiří Menzel will receive on February 23, which is also the date of the premiere of the film and also his birthday.”

Mr. Menzel has had health problems and had to undergo brain surgery. Will he be attending in person, on what will be his 80th birthday, to accept this award?

“It is planned so. But to be perfectly honest I cannot confirm 100 percent that he will be there.

“I hope he will.”

Does he have a big role in the movie?

“Yes, he has one of the two main roles.

“It’s the story of two men who meet by coincidence and then go on a journey back to history and travel to unveil the truth.

“One of the main characters is Jiří Menzel and the second one is the Austrian actor Peter Simonischek, who people may know from Toni Erdmann.”

Also being screened in Berlin is the documentary When the War Comes by the director Jan Gebert. Could you please tell us something about that?

“I think it’s a documentary that very much speaks to what’s happening now in many territories.

“It’s a very personal story of a young man who has founded a paramilitary group in Slovakia, and they train.

“He himself has been trained by Russian Cossacks, so he has some training of that kind.

“He is building this in order to bring tradition and Slovak values back to life.

“But it develops and at the end he is also, probably, aiming to enter politics.

“This all brings quite a lot of questions as to whether it is a really a return to values or a totalitarian direction.

“It’s very interestingly made.”

Author: Český rozhlas Radio Praha
Added: 14.02.2018

Related articles


2018 Febiofest promises emerging...

Prague’s biggest film event, Febiofest, gets underway on Thursday evening. The festival will deliver more...


Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra using...

Many people don’t know that the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra is one of the oldest leading Czech...


Radio Prague launches on voice...

From Wednesday Czech Radio is available on Alexa, a voice-activated smart device of the kind that may be...


Ice Mother is story of revolt, says...

Ice Mother by Bohdan Sláma swept the boards at the main domestic film awards, the Czech Lions, on...

Most favourite

History of Czech fine art

What happened in the realm of fine art at the very beginning of the Czech…


The Czech Republic is a landlocked country located in moderate geographical…

The most significant current discoveries

During the last decade, Czech science has made many revolutionary discoveries…

Czech language

The Czech language belongs to the group of West Slavic languages. From another…

Traditional Czech products

Czech industrial production has a long tradition, and many products are known…

Traditional Czech products

Czech industrial production has a long tradition, and many products are known…


Facebook recent activity