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23rd Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

ji-hlava dok cdf

Foreigner Looking for an Apartment: Austria and Germany

running time: 75 min.

synopsis

The Right of Asylum in Bavaria

Kids on Their Way Abroad

Two Years Later – Czechoslovaks in Exile

The Eppstein School Shooting

Naturalization

The East and the West – Exodus

Austrian Refugee Camp Traiskirchen

Czechoslovak Refugees Fly to the USA

Everybody Helps the Stranded Holidaymakers

World Mirror – The Situation of Czechoslovak Intellectuals in Vienna

biography

The selection of West German TV reports filmed between 1968 and 1986 reflects the diversity of the Czechoslovak citizens who, under various circumstances, decided to live their free future lives in the German Federal Republic. The perspective of the contemporary media and public brings more information not only about famous people, such as the poet and songwriter Karel Kryl, singer Yvonne Přenosilová or poet and essayist Ivan Diviš, but also about common people who did not want to be subjugated to the Czechoslovak communist regime. One of them was Milada Melanová who left for Germany with her family. A fter the first few days in the refugee camp at Zirndorf, they found a small apartment in a Frankfurt housing estate for the socially disadvantaged. In addition to confined spaces, however, the family had to deal with the mess and crime around their new home and misunderstandings on the part of the authorities. The TV reports not only explain individual political motivations of the exiles, but also use concrete life stories to reveal the ways of integration. An unfortunate course of events will be shown in the report on one of the most tragic school shootings in Germany – it occurred in Eppstein and the perpetrator was the then 34-year-old Czechoslovak immigrant Karel Charva. The reports on official asylum procedures will show how Czechoslovak immigrants, already burdened by their mixed feelings, were confronted with the very challenging bureaucratic reality. A wide time span of the reports allows the viewers to compare the media images of refugees as soon as they come to the host country and a fter a few years, and see how Germany managed the wave of refugees from the urgent situation at the beginning to the evaluation of the integration practices.

A selection of Austrian archival recordings on the topic of Czechoslovak emigrants draws attention to, among others, the immediate situation on the Czechoslovak-Austrian border in 1968 – the cramped conditions at the Traiskirchen refugee camp, footage of buses symbolically carrying their hopes and fear of the unknown, and the bleak meetings with an uncertain end of administrative proceedings associated with their application for asylum. At the same time, we are also witnesses to the solidarity of our Austrian neighbors who wanted to help at any cost, providing the “shipwrecked” holidaymakers with food and shelter. We hear interviews with emigrants who speak on camera about the reasons for their emigration and about their plans for the future. Among them are a group of Czechoslovaks who took advantage of regular flights to the USA on Pan American organized by the International Organization for European Migration and Refugees. Another episode focuses on a community of Czechoslovak intellectuals. Journalists, writers, artists, and scientists – who found refuge in nearby Vienna. In anonymous statements, they reflect on the political motivations of the Soviet Union, on the consequences not only in the collective sense of the word, but also with regards to the lives of individuals. One example is the fate of a university teacher and her husband who disagree on their plans for the future. She wants to stay abroad, while he wants to return to communist Czechoslovakia. The refugees’ internal conflicts and ambivalent feelings are symptomatic of their o ften only recourse to an untenable life situation: emigration.

other films in the section

Foreigner Looking for an Apartment: USA
Czech Immigrant Makes Cookies Escape to Freedom
personal program

Foreigner Looking for an Apartment: USA

87 min.
section: Foreigner Looking for an Apartment
Foreigner Looking for an Apartment: France
Czechoslovaki – Read and Understand Evellyn Sullerot – Thursday Guest Hugo’s City Hugo’s Return Interview with a Czechoslovak Refugee
personal program

Foreigner Looking for an Apartment: France

70 min.
section: Foreigner Looking for an Apartment
Live Broadcast from the City Theatre in Basel
a direct broadcast of the great cultural event of the Basel City Theater from August 1968, in which writers such as Heinrich Böll, Max Frisch, and Günter Grass talk about the suppression of the Prague Spring with the arrival of the Soviet tanks in Czechoslovakia. In speeches they recall their visits to Czechoslovakia, to friends living there, and formulate reflections on the consequences of political upheaval.
personal program

Live Broadcast from the City Theatre in Basel

Switzerland / 1968 / 83 min.
section: Foreigner Looking for an Apartment
The Other Europe
A political guide to the world beyond the Iron Curtain. Channel 4’s six-part series is a journey through the countries of the Soviet bloc in the waning days of communism. Rare images from socialist archives, combined with Rupnik’s commentary, illustrate the rise and fall of totalitarianism in Central Europe.
personal program

The Other Europe

Tom Robbins
United Kingdom / 1988 / 53 min.
section: Foreigner Looking for an Apartment
The Other Europe ...30 Years Later
Jacques Rupnik, French historian and political scientist, introduces the audience to the material he used as a basis for his The Other Europe series. The entire archive has been brought to the Czech Republic and is currently being digitalized. The audience will be among the first to see these materials first-hand which coincidentally happens exactly 30 years after the first publication of the series. Jacques Rupnik will explain the difficulties he encountered while shooting the series and tell the audience about the attitude of the Communist regimes towards people coming from the “other” Europe to shoot films here
personal program

The Other Europe ...30 Years Later

90 min.
section: Foreigner Looking for an Apartment
Foreigner Looking for an Apartment: Switzerland
Asylum in Switzerland Czechoslovak Refugees Guests from Czechoslovakia Become Refugees Two Years Later: Czechoslovak Refugees in Switzerland Live Broadcast from the City Theatre The Russian Invasion of Czechoslovakia
personal program

Foreigner Looking for an Apartment: Switzerland

45 min.
section: Foreigner Looking for an Apartment
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Evropská unie
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Česká televize
Český rozhlas
Aktuálně.cz
Respekt
UPP
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