Saint Wenceslas

30. 9. 2010 / Alex Koenigsmark

I must say that I was honestly entertained by the silent epic Svatý Václav (Saint Wenceslas) Svatý Václav. Seldom a Czech comedy makes me fall into so much laughing. Not to mention that actor Zdeněk Štěpánek's mask, in the film, kept reminding me of [controversial ultraconservative human rights and minorities` advisor to the Czech premier] Roman Joch.

A Czech version of this article is in CLICK HERE

Nevertheless, it was difficult to avoid having some dark thoughts. In particular its wider connotations. It was enough to listen to the news before and after the film and have newspapers in hand, which in Czech Republic start there where others end.

Most words about that film and the film itself also somehow only added to something that makes me wonder, for years, when it comes to our current Václav [Klaus]: why is this country's "Duke" exactly he?

He did not achieve anything of great worth when he was in charge of our country, plus he also ruled only for a quite short time. Statesman-like success came only with his fratricide brother-successor, Boleslav.

A martyr he wasn't either, because he wasn't killed in the name of some belief. He certainly had many wonderful personal qualities and was very devout, but that's all...

Something there just doesn't feel right, even if he probably didn't supply oxen to Germany and maybe didn't humiliate himself in front of Ptáčník.

Apparently, it is said that one can tell when the Czech theatre is in dire straits when they start playing Jirásek's play Otec (Father), I have no idea why -- :O) -- and even if it is a bit dark, they bring up the experienced works of Saint Wenceslas and put them in contrast against the Hussites, even though they are separated by centuries and there is no link between them...

This bad atmosphere is everywhere: Americans have a black president with Rooseveltian concepts (on the other hand, I am satisfied and amused by the fact that, just like what in other times [communist daily] Rudé Právo did to Reagan, now Czech newspapers criticize Obama), there is a crisis and unemployment, problems with funds and consumption. We can even make fun of it, but it is easy to remember that to all of those economic problems the Right has had only one single recipe: war.

It is enough to create the right atmosphere, to find a bunch of models from the past and, with their help, build the picture of an enemy, convince enough voters that it is necessary to be tough and uncompromising against all enemies, firmly defend some mythical code of Principles and of what is Civilization, while not conceding to Evil.

For some types of engineers it is an enormous, huge temptation, because they at the same time play the roles of soldiers and heroes, for the war doesn't have to be in the homeland, it can be a bit further... while at home shutting up those who don't agree, because they do not appreciate the same heroes, they belittle our names, go against our common wellness.

I know I am just painting a devil on the wall. But that Václav really reminded me of Joch.


Obsah vydání | Sobota 10.12. 2016