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Polish film-maker Holland presents her new film in Prague

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Prague, March 23 (CTK) – Polish film director and scriptwriter Agnieszka Holland, 68, who received an honorary doctorate at the Academy of Performing Arts (AMU) in Prague on Thursday, presented her new film Pokot (Spoor) within the 24th Febiofest international film festival yesterday afternoon.

The film with the elements of black comedy is adapted from Olga Tokarczuk’s thriller.

“I say about this film that it is my most ‘Czech’ one. I am very glad that it has black humour. I found inspiration in Czech cinematography,” Holland said.

Czech scriptwriter Stepan Hulik cooperated with Holland on the script. Other Czechs who worked on the film are editor Pavel Hrdlicka and actor Miroslav Krobot who plays one of important roles.

Holland said she likes cooperating with Krobot and that she added a new figure to the film because of him.

Receiving the doctoral degree, including a diploma and a gold medal with a chain, Holland symbolically returned to the school where she studied at the Film and Television Faculty during the Prague Spring reform movement in the late 1960s and after it was crashed by the Soviet-led invasion in August 1968. She graduated from the faculty in 1971.

“Holland’s work creates a bridge between the Polish and Czech cultures,” AMU Rector Jan Hancil said.

She communicates the ideas of democracy and humanism in an artistic way, he added.

“The similarity of both cultures is apparent. We have a similar geographic location, similar languages and similar history. At the same time, we are different in some aspects,” Holland said.

She spoke about her shocking experience when she appeared at Prague’s film academy, thinking that Czechs and Poles were the same and that there only were more goods in shops in former Czechoslovakia.

“However, I have found out that we differ in the way of life,” she said.

Czechs consider their everyday, private life and its beauty important, but at the same time, they have a “civilian approach” to it and share fears of pathos and exaggerated emotions, Holland said.

“Poles, for their part, are too strong in their pathos, which sometimes leads to hysteria and the lack of tolerance. They are unable of respecting a difference, but on the other hand, they are excellent for hard times when fighting is needed,” she added.

FAMU Dean Zdenek Holy appreciated Holland’s relation to Czech history.

He mentioned her three-part mini-series, created for HBO, and film Burning Bush (2013) on the self-immolation of Czech student activist Jan Palach in 1969 in reaction to the 1968 Soviet occupation of his homeland. The film won 11 Czech Lion awards in 2014, including in the main categories for the best film, director and script.

Holland was awarded the honorary academic degree for her lifelong film and television work.

In the past, AMU presented its honorary doctorates, for instance, to Czech-born Oscar-winning film director Milos Forman, living in the USA, the British and Czech conductors, Charles Mackerras and Jiri Belohlavek, and Czech violinist Josef Suk. The first holder of the AMU honorary doctorate is the late first post-communist Czechoslovak and Czech president and playwright, Vaclav Havel, who received it in 1996.

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