Epic, expansive, affectionate and deeply passionate, CzechMate – In Search of Jiří Menzel is an extraordinary documentary film, a labour of love by filmmaker Shivendra Singh Dungarpur. Its depth and scale are unparalleled in the study of the Czech and Slovak cinema.
Jiří Menzel’s debut film Closely Observed Trains (Ostře sledované vlaky, 1966) made a profound impression on young film student Dungarpur. Years later, he invited Menzel to meet him in a Prague café – and so began a conversation and a friendship that has culminated in this epic, seven-hour-plus film that not only explores the deceptively whimsical comic films of Jiří Menzel, but all of the artists who strove to make films that whispered subversion and rebellion often at the risk of their livelihood, or even their lives.
Filmed over a period of eight years, Dungarpur and his team interviewed filmmakers, actors, crew members, writers, historians and critics who had been touched by the New Wave – including Věra Chytilová, Miloš Forman, Vojtěch Jasný, Ivan Passer, Ken Loach, Juraj Jakubisko, Jaromír Šofr, Andrzej Wajda, Dušan Hanák, Štefan Uher, Jan Němec, and Miroslav Ondříček among them
Our world premiere, region-free, director-approved 2-disc Blu-ray Special Edition features the full and complete version of Shivendra Singh Dungarpur’s remarkable documentary, and also includes two new HD presentations of Jiří Menzel’s acclaimed but rarely seen short films Prefabricated Houses (Domy z panel , 1959) and Our Dear Mister Foerster Died (Um el nám pan Foerster, 1963) – plus a 24 page booklet featuring writing by Shivendra Singh Dungarpur and extracts from the director’s personal shooting-diaries.
Length / CzechMate: 448 minutes
Length / Special features: 23 minutes
Sound: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
Colour / Black and white
Original aspect ratio: 1.78:1
Languages: Czech, English, French, Hungarian, Polish, Russian, Slovak
• Two-disc Blu-ray Special Edition.
• Presented from a new director-approved HD transfer of the complete film.
• Two of Jirí Menzel’s early and rarely-seen short films, available for the first time in HD:
– Prefabricated Houses (Domy z panel , 1959)
– Our Dear Mister Foerster Died (Um el nám pan Foerster, 1963)
• Image gallery featuring photographs and posters from the personal archives of Shivendra Singh Dungarpur.
• 24-page booklet featuring extracts from the director’s shooting-diaries.
• 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
• World premiere release on home video.
• Region-free (A/B/C) Blu-ray.