Czech Peace

Filip Remunda and Vit Klusak

Czech Republic, 2009, 90min

As part of their Missile Defence project, the US government plan to locate a military base in the Czech Republic, the same location as used as a hideaway for Soviet nuclear rockets during the Cold War. 70% of Czechs are against the project; the government, however, proceeds with the talks… Supporters of the base use threats of the War on Terror, saying “rogue states” can’t wait to shower the country with rockets. Opponents claim the same thing will happen if the radar is built. According to both parties concerned, the war is inevitable. This is a pre-war comedy: a feature-length documentary about Czechs not knowing whether to invite a foreign army into their country, having experienced Soviet occupation and yet conscious of the current controversial War on Terror.

TOWARDS THE END of 2008, whilst filming their newest documentary, a funny thing happened to Filip Remunda and Vit Klusak of Hypermarket Films: Barack Obama was elected President of the United States. Normally, such an event should have little impact on the cinematic undertakings of two Prague-based documentary filmmakers whose modest but acclaimed oeuvre centers around Eastern European customs and cultures – for example their previous film Czech Dream, a prankster dissection of the Czech Republic’s inflated consumerism after the fall of the Iron Curtain. The Eastern European team of Remunda and Klusak wants to make a documentary about US imperialism trickling into the quaint villages of their country, and so they decide to fly all the way to Washington D.C. to capture their imperialist antagonist President George W. Bush shaking hands and making deals to militarise portions of the Czech countryside. But they lose this central character a few months later when he is replaced by an admirable, charismatic, anti-militarisation president named Barack Obama. This new character plans to demolish the entire military proposition, and the filmmakers are left with two opposing reactions: one, as a politically-opinionated citizen – this is good for the Czech people; and two, as a filmmaker – what a pity to cool the conflict of a hotblooded political dispute.

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