28th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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director: Ulrich Seidl
original title: Sparta
country: Austria, France, Germany
year: 2022
running time: 101 min.


In Rimini, Ulrich Seidl introduced the fizzled-out bar singer Richie. Filmed in parallel, Sparta follows Richie's brother, Ewald, who’s in his forties. He left his native Austria years ago. Now he's trying to make a fresh start in Transylvania. With a group of local boys, he turns a dilapidated school into a fortress. Outwardly innocent games are an excuse to spend time with children, whom Ewald finds sexually attractive. This unprejudiced drama challenges us to empathize with a pedophile. According to the findings of the weekly Der Spiegel, the director did not sufficiently familiarize the child actors with the film's sensitive subject matter and exposed them to nudity, violence, and alcohol. Seidl denies the charges.

„In my work I have always sought to plumb the contradictions in our thoughts and actions that are the essence of being human. I am aware that my world view as an artist, and how I express the latter in my films, is in blatant contradiction with the contemporary zeitgeist that demands a simplified, context-free “either-or,” when a “both-as well as” far better expresses human experience.“ — Ulrich Seidl 

Source: https://www.ulrichseidl.com/en/statement-sparta


Austrian director Ulrich Seidl (* 1952) has been making documentaries since the 1990s. He received the Jury Prize in Venice for his feature debut Dog Days (2001). He competed in Cannes with the drama Import/Export (2007). He also presented the individual parts of his trilogy Paradise at leading festivals. After nine years, the diptych Rimini and Sparta is his return to work based primarily on fiction narrative practices.

more about film

director: Ulrich Seidl
producer: Ulrich Seidl
script: Ulrich Seidl, Veronika Franz
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Creative Europe Media
Česká televize
Český rozhlas