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Reconstruction of Occupation + Extended introduction by Dr Thomas Lorman
July 17 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
A masterful cinematic adventure of a truly forensic nature that uses newly discovered footage to provide a unique perspective on the 1968 military invasion of Czechoslovakia and its aftermath.
The discovery of 3 ½ hours of previously unseen, professionally shot footage of the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia that had been sitting in a garage for more than 40 years triggered a project reconstructing events that took place 55 years ago. Director Jan Sikl, known for his meticulous work with private family film archives, used an open call broadcast on Czech Television to trace the people’s identities and locations depicted in the footage and acquire further authentic film material. Memories of specific events spring to life, and what starts out as an investigation gradually becomes a reflection of how a historical moment has imprinted itself on us all. The resulting film combines found professional and amateur footage with 18 interviews with those both behind and in front of the camera during that time while documenting Sikl‘s investigative work. Using a lip-reading expert to decipher what is being said in the silent footage and travelling to visit people and locations across the whole country, Sikl provides a new perspective on these historical events, putting a human face on the invasion and its aftermath while creating a specific form of social memory.
Jan Šikl, Czech Republic, Slovakia 2021, 95’
Premiered at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival 2021
The winner of the Best History Documentary Award at the Beyond Borders International Documentary Festival
Extended introduction by Dr Thomas Lorman
Thomas Lorman is a lecturer (teaching) in central European history at UCL’s School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES), where he has been teaching and researching since 2010. His most recent publications are The Making of the Slovak People’s Party. Religion, Nationalism, and the Culture War in Early 20th-Century Europe (Bloomsbury, 2020) and A History of the Hungarian Constitution: Law, Government and Political Culture in Central Europe (Bloomsbury, 2020), which he co-edited with Ferenc Hörcher. He also serves as editor of the journal Central Europe.
The exhibition was created by the Czech Centres in collaboration with the Czech Technology Agency. Organised by the Czech Centre London in association with the Czech Embassy.