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Czech Director Makes Guest Appearance in Washington

Oscar-nominated director Jan Hřebejk presented his film THE TEACHER at the Avalon Theatre on May 22, 2019. At his Q&A following the film, he spoke about the underlying note that drives the film.

"Fear plays an integral part in the film," he said.

When asked if the film is based on real characters, he responded, "Yes. There was a teacher like this who manipulated parents and the parents ultimately banned together and got her out. This fear was real. " He added that there is some leeway in character names and circumstances, but overall it is based on real characters.

As the film points out, one could lose their job for going against someone who was part of the communist regime. There was a sense of helplessness, and it took an immense amount of courage to stand up in these circumstances.

Hřebejk also talked about his own experience under the communist regime, not being able to go to film school right away.

Deputy Chief of Mission Zdeněk Beránek opened the event talking about the renowned career of the director that has spanned over 30 years in filmmaking. "Hřebejk's films deal with a number of serious topics, but they also are intertwined with humor."

Hřebejk's film The Teacher (Učitelka) centers on a teacher who manipulates her pupils' parents to get what she wants during communist times. Actress Zuzana Mauréry, who plays the teacher in the film, won the Czech Lion Award for Best Actress, and the film was nominated for a Crystal Globe at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival (2016).

During the Q&A, Czech American filmmaker/professor Josef Lustig translated the discussion between the director and the audience. Hřebejk spoke about this being his first Slovak language film due to a number of circumstances including shooting at a great location for the film and talking with a Slovak actress.

Over 100 people attended the screening, including students from Norther Virginia Community College, who will be going to the Czech Republic in June for the first time.

About the director: Czech Director Jan Hřebejk garnered an Oscar nomination in the category of Best Foreign Language Film in 2000 for his film Divided We Fall. He also received the country’s top honor, the Czech Lion Award for Best Director three times for his films Big Beat (Sakalí léta, 1994), Divided We Fall (Musíme si pomáhat, 2001), and Up and Down (Horem pádem, 2005). He studied at the prestigious Film and Television School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (FAMU) . 


Czech Film Director