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Film: Jára Cimrman, Lying, Sleeping

Date: 17 November 2015 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM, Venue: Bistro Bohem

Bistro Bohem, in collaboration with the Embassy of the Czech Republic, will screen Ladislav Smoljak’s mockumentary biography of a Czech legendary character Jára Cimrman called Jára Cimrman, Lying, Sleeping on November 17, at 7 pm, as part of the Film and Beer Series. 

At this screening, the audience will  have a unique opportunity to get to know Cimrman, a universal Czech genius that got the most votes in the Greatest Czech television poll in 2005. Scoring 87% in the Czecho-slovak Movie Database, the film ranges 13th out of all Czech and Czechoslovak films and 99th globally.

Location: Bistro Bohem
600 Florida Avenue, NW, Washington, DC           

Please make a reservation to see the film as space is limited: bistrobohem@gmail.com
For all reservations, please arrive at Bistro Bohem by 6:45 pm!

Admission is free.


Jára Cimrman, Lying, Sleeping | Jára Cimrman ležící, spící
1983, 81 min., Czech with English subtitles

Firstly appearing on a regular radio program on December 23, 1966, Jára Cimrman is presented as one of the greatest Czech playwrights, poets, composers, teachers, travellers, philosophers, inventors, detectives, mathematicians and sportsmen of the 19th and early 20th century. Despite not achieving proper recognition for his achievements he is still perceived as a symbol of Czech nations´ omnipresent sharp mind and a national hero. 

According to his biographers, Jára Cimrman made extensive contributions to all of mankind in many areas. E.g. he proposed the Panama Canal to the U.S. government, while composing a libretto for an opera of the same name. With Count Zeppelin, he constructed the first rigid airship using Swedish steel and Czech wicker (the wicker being for the cabin). He conducted investigations into the life of Arctic cannibalistic tribes; and once, while running away from the furious tribe, he missed the North Pole by a mere seven meters, thus almost becoming the first human reaching the North Pole. He invented yogurt. He generously helped many great scientists: He carried on his own back the 45 tubs of pitchblende to the basement of Mr. and Mrs. Curie. He assisted Prof. Burian with his first plastic surgery. He reworked the electrical contact on Edison's first light bulb. He found a sublet for Mr. Eiffel. It is said that when Graham Bell invented his telephone, he found 3 missed calls from Jára Cimrman upon making his first connection.

Cimrman is both the major character and the putative author of a great number of books, plays, and films. Žižkovské divadlo Járy Cimrmana (Jára Cimrman Theatre in Žižkov) is one of Prague's most frequented theatre houses. Both the plays presented by Jára Cimrman´s Theatre and this film represent a particular type of Czech intellectual humor poking fun at any trace of nationalism Czechs might possess. 



About the authors:     
Jára Cimrman, forgotten genius, was invented by a group of friends in the late 60s during their wine cellar and radio talks. Zdeněk Svěrák (b. 1936) and Ladislav Smoljak (1931-2010), who were among the original collaborators, developed this inventive character into lifelike proportions and larger-than-life fame. Both actors and screenwriters, Svěrák a former teacher, Smoljak a future film director, they established their own unorthodox theater in the outskirts of Prague, named, of course, the Theater of Jára Cimrman (Divadlo Járy Cimrmana, originally in Strašnice, now in Žižkov, in the former Masaryk Theater).

They have performed sixteen plays - reconstructions of manuscripts of Cimrman, originally lost, partially destroyed, then as if by chance rediscovered, in accord with the tradition of forged manuscripts that played such a crucial role in the ideology and rhetoric of the Czech national revival movement. The performances, sold out for months in advance, and always incorporating improvisations that made each of them in a sense original, would open with a “scientific” scholarly seminar on Cimrman's life and work, followed by a reconstruction of one of his plays.

Characteristically for the 1980s, intellectual humor was accompanied by smart though transparent allegorical satire, exposing the problematic aspects of the Czech character as well as the rhetoric of the Communist regime. Since they survived the fall of Communism and remain popular today, these performances proved to hold universal appeal and not be contextually bound to the late Communist period.

About the Series:         
This marks the fourth year of the Film and Beer Series at Bistro Bohem. The series this year focuses on the work of acclaimed screenwriter and actor Zdeněk Svěrák, who is renowned for the Oscar-winning film Kolya. All of the films will screen in Czech with English subtitles. Each screening includes one free beer as well as an introduction by a representative from the Czech Embassy. All screenings are subject to change. The screenings take place the third Tuesday of every month.

Upcoming Screenings in 2015:                                           
Nov. 17, 7 pm        Jára Cimrman Lying, Sleeping | Jára Cimrman ležící, spící         
Dec. 15, 7 pm         The Three Veterans | Tři veteráni