Czech Republic 2008, Documentary, 83' | Director, Screenplay Helena Trestikova | DoP M. Kubala, P. Pesek, S. Slusny, M. Dvorak, O. Belica, M. Soucek, V. Hamernik | Editor Jakub Hejna | Sound Vladimir Nahodil, Pavel Sadek, Jan Valouch, Vadav Hejduk, Miroslav Simcik, Stepan Mamula, Daniel Nemec, Zbynek Mikulik, Petr Provaznik, Jan Valouch | Production Taskovski Films

“Why did my lousy life turn out this way? Who knows why? Not even God knows that. God is on holiday and is reading porn magazines.” René What is he supposed to do on the outside? René Plašil is in jail yet again and no longer really expects any answer to this question. Helena Treštíková has followed René’s story with the camera for 20 years. During this period, René’s criminal record has filled up continuously with offences, for which he has had to serve a total of over 16 years in jail. Since 1987, he has broken into 70 private apartments, among other things – including Treštíková’s apartment. History is being written: the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia, the attacks of 11th September or the Czech Republic joining the European Union. René moves from one prison cell to the next.

This long-term documentation sets forth the life of a desperado for whom the filmmaker becomes the only reliable and constant point of reference he has. A contradictory and varied relationship develops, reflected by René in his letters to Treštíková. “I am pleased that you are going to visit me again. Write and tell me when it will be, then the time will pass by more quickly. It is better if you are waiting for something that you can look forward to. Apart from you, there is nothing here that is anything like this”, he once wrote to her. Over the course of time, and with her help, René becomes a successful writer and turns out to be an equal match and a difficult partner, drastic in the way he questions things and demands attention. The film creates a closeness that is almost painful, and which becomes a huge dilemma.


HELENA TRESTIKOVÁ is probably the most significant Czech documentary filmmaker. In more than 30 years she was involved in some 50 film projects dealing above all with social issues and relations between people. Some of her most important works include the long-term documentations about young convicts ?ekni mi n?co o sob? (Tell Me Something About Yourself) and about the fate of various women Ženy na prelomu tisíciletí (Women at the Turn of the Millenium). At the beginning of 2007, Helena Treštíková briefly held office as the Czech Minister of Culture.

Helena Trestikova
Czech Republic
Focus: Freedom