Welcome to Czech Film Review!
I started the site in 2018 for two reasons. Firstly, I’d lived in the Czech Republic for nine years at that point, and had been visiting the country for over two decades. Yet I’d only seen a handful of Czech films and remained ambivalent towards them – I wondered why, as a movie buff with love for the country, the people and the culture, was I so indifferent to their cinema?
Secondly, I love reading film criticism almost as much as watching films themselves, and I soon realized that it was very difficult to find a reliable source of quality film criticism about Czech films in English. Sure, you can find dozens of great articles on Criterion-friendly efforts like Closely Watched Trains or Valerie and Her Week of Wonders, but if you wanted to read up on something like Sun, Hay, Strawberries… well, good luck! (At the time of writing, mine is still the only critic’s review listed on IMDb for this popular classic.)
So I thought, why don’t I create a website of my own offering honest, personal reviews on Czech films? It would be a journey through another culture’s cinema and, who knows, I might even learn to appreciate Czech movies in the process. (Spoiler alert: I did.)
In 2020 I decided to find other writers who could help me build up my database. It was a tough decision because until then the site had been my personal journey. However, I also wanted the site to be a handy resource for people interested in finding out about Czech films, and at my usual rate of writing it would take until the year 2056 for it to become useful as such.
So I asked two promising writers to help me with my task. Kai-Ming Chow, based in Puerto Rico, is a guy who really knows his stuff when it comes to movies, but was new to Czech film. I wanted him to offer even more of an outsider’s perspective than mine. Jakub Svanda, a talented young writer, poet and musician from Brno provides a useful, enthusiastic counterpoint and offers some Czech insight.