26th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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Obscurantist and His Lineage or The Pyramids' Tearful Valleys

Obscurantist and His Lineage or The Pyramids' Tearful Valleys

director: Karel Vachek
original title: Tmář a jeho rod aneb Slzavé údolí pyramid
country: Czech Republic
year: 2011
running time: 209 min.


Karel Vachek’s latest documentary essay deals with the fine line between an internal belief in God and institutionalized religion. At the same time it brings up the need for a healthy sense of skepticism and the benefit of not believing in anything that advertises itself as certain. The filmmaker sets out for the USA, Japan, Great Britain, Poland, and the Balkans in his sometimes amusing investigation of spiritual substitutes, such as esoteric "teachings” or various fraudulent and magical practices, to which we sometimes fall prey due to our natural religious cravings. In addition to a Czech "prefab” family, who describe the carryings-on of their poltergeist, well-known mystery buffs appear in the film: Erich von Däniken, Raymond Moody Jr., and Ivan Mackerl. Director Vachek, however, uses no irony or ridicule, and although his position of skepticism in the film is clear, he is quick to point out surprising correspondences between the newest scientific hypotheses and the most ancient religious texts. 


Karel Vachek (1940) creates multi-layered philosophical and social essays. In 2004, he published the book The Theory of Matter. Films: Moravian Hellas, 1963, Elective Affinities, 1968, New Hyperion or Liberty, Equality, Brotherhood, 1992, What Is to Be Done? (A Journey from Prague to Český Krumlov, or How I Formed a New Government, 1996, Bohemia Docta or The Labyrinth of the World and the Lust-house of the Heart A Divine Comedy, 2000, Who Will Watch the Watchman? Dalibor, or the Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin, 2002Obscurantist and His Lineage or The Pyramids’ Tearful Valleys, 2011.

more about film

director: Karel Vachek
script: Karel Vachek
photography: Karel Slach
editing: Renata Pařezová
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Česká televize
Český rozhlas
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