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Bye Bye Shanghai

 
Bye Bye Shanghai

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(Bye Bye Shanghai) Director: Jana Boková, CZ - ARG, 2008, Czech version, 114 min

Distinguished Czech documentarist Jana Boková, who lives in Argentina, decided for her latest film to find out exactly what the word “exile” means. Her first stop is Prague where, after a period of 40 years, she meets up with a friend from her school days, the philosopher Václav Bělohradský. Their joint recollections of leaving Prague, at that time occupied by “friendly” forces, are deftly woven into high-quality archive footage. She also conducts a frank interview in Prague with the lightly intoxicated Vlasta Třešňák, who remembers his torture during the endless interrogations by the state secret police and the need to choose between prison and emigration. In Paris, poet and translator Petr Král reflects upon the mechanisms of totalitarian power and looks back at the major role the Prague Spring played in Western left-wing thinking. This highly personal film by Jana Boková, examining the lives of several Czech emigrés, including the director herself, considers the various aspects of emigration and reaches the conclusion that, once a person has been uprooted, he can never cultivate his native roots again.


 

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