Private Lives - Czech Republic

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Barrandov Studios – A Brief History

Jan Hájek – A Brief Profile

Private Lives (Bohéma, 2017)
Czech Republic

Cast: Michal Dlouhý, Vladimír Javorský, Jaroslav Plesl, Judit Bárdos
Director: Robert Sedlácek
Genre: Drama
Seasons: 1
Episodes: 6
Length: 72’


The glory and misery of Barrandov and its biggest stars in the clutches of two totalitarian regimes, Eurochannel premiers Private Lives.

Our story takes place between 1938 and 1953 and captures the fame and misery of an attractive filmmaking environment in two totalitarian regimes, and how the line between bohemian life in Barrandov Studios and the concentration camps was very thin at the time. People balanced luxury and death, betrayal and resistance, and cowardice and heroism. They collaborated with the Nazis and at the same time cooperated with the resistance.

Barrandov Studios was one of the most modern in Europe and after the nationalization of the film, the studio belonged to the people. When Germans invaded the Czech Republic, they founded the company Pragfilm, which engulfed Barrandov. Hitler and Goebbels adored film and knew that for the masses working in war production, cinema is as important as bread and will often replace freedom.

They invested in studio equipment and employed two thousand mostly Czechs with the aim of making German and Czech films. Thanks to that, the post-war nationalized cinematography was great. It kept the masses calm and at the same time, they maintained national awareness. The audience at the cinema forgot the harsh reality, the producers made money, and the filmmakers didn't have to work in Germany because of the trampled production.

Once the Germans were defeated and Communists took over, most Czech stars stood before the People's Court facing the collaboration charges. The motive for the accusation was often just envy and a bad conscience of those spectators who applauded the stars enthusiastically before. Some were cleared, but most didn't. And there were those who calmly betrayed anyone and said anything just so they could keep playing - even under the Communists. They just slipped from one collaboration to another.

Private Lives S1 E1

A group of actors and artists are at the peak of their creative powers. None of them expects that the open democratic society of the First Republic will suddenly turn into a regime where, over time, they will lose their little things.

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