Old-Timers (Staříci) is a Czech movie made in 2019 which would be presented on April 15, at the Czech film carnival organised online. Based on the plans, a short video message from the makers would be shown before the start of the movie. However, the Czech foreign ministry banned it because of its anti-Orbán content. Therefore, the directors of the Old-Timers would like to withdraw their film from the online carnival.
According to atlatszo.hu, Ondřej Provazník and Martin Dušek’s Old-Timers was widely acknowledged by the Czech film industry in 2019. The film would be presented next Thursday at the Czech Film Carnival in the Czech Centre of Budapest. Before each film, the organisers will show the short video message from the makers. However, in the case of the Old-Timers, the Czech foreign ministry banned the message
because it was critical towards the Hungarian PM, Viktor Orbán.
Since all Czech cultural institutions operate under the Czech foreign ministry, they decide what and how can be presented.
According to Átlátszó’s report, one of the directors, Ondřej Provazník, says that “our representatives should have realised that they are accountable for their deeds.” Meanwhile, his colleague writes “Ban Orbán” in English on the wall behind him.
At the end of the video, Martin Dušek turns to the camera and says “you should watch this until you can”.
The directors said that the Czech foreign ministry was investigating the case, and
they were involved in banning its presentation.
In the video message, Provazník says that the film is about the friendship of two elderly people. It is a road movie dealing with serious issues, but it does not lack humour. Finally, Provazník adds that all politicians should think about that at the end of their lives because somebody may come to hold them responsible for every deed they committed.
A Czech weekly, Respekt,
asked the country’s foreign minister and his spokesperson, but neither answered.
The road movie tells the story of a migrant who returns to his hometown to take vengeance on all those who committed crimes against him in the 1950s, especially on the public prosecutor dealing with his case back then. The directors said that they made the video message on March 25, but
the Czech foreign ministry has not given its permission to present it ever since.
Firstly, nobody told them that the problem was that they criticised the Hungarian PM. When that became clear, they proposed to supplement the video with a sentence stating that the content of the message does not represent the official standpoint of the Czech Republic. However, the Czech foreign ministry said ‘No’ even to that.
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The directors said that if they were not able to show their message, they would like to withdraw their movie from the film carnival. Interestingly, the film’s producer will have the final say regarding the issue.