The official trailer for the film has been launched to coincide with the 77th anniversary of the return of Czechoslovak RAF members to Prague on August 15, 1945.
The film tells the story of two Czech RAF airmen, František Fajtl and Filip Jánský (real name Richard Husmann), and their Odyssean journey across war-torn Europe. The memories of the two airmen are brought to life through the voices of a pair of actors of a similar age as the airmen were during the war, and their thoughts accompany the viewer throughout the film. We follow them leaving occupied Czechoslovakia, joining the fight to save France, their subsequent escape to England, serving in the Battle of Britain, their transfer to the Soviet Union and support for the Slovak National Uprising, before their eventual return to liberated Prague.
The film is made purely from period film footage gathered from archives across Europe, including previously unseen material. The authentic experiences of the pilots and the archive footage complement each other for an experience which makes it feel as though the protagonists’ story were taking place here and now.
The director of Good Old Czechs is award-winning documentarist Tomáš Bojar, winner of the Proxima competition at this year’s Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.
“František Fajtl and Filip Jánský were two brave Czechoslovak airmen, the first a pilot, the second a gunner in a bomber. The first was a complete gentleman, the second a bit of a rascal – but both were extremely sensitive observers of the world around them. They were interested in things both big and small, noble and mundane,” says director Tomáš Bojar. “We know that before taking off they often had to overcome their fear of death, and after landing they would mourn their fallen comrades while also celebrating the borrowed time they had been granted on Earth. And when learning to live in other countries, even in the most difficult moments, they did not lose their particular sense of humour.”
The director has sensitively transformed fragments from the airmen’s rich post-war literary work and, together with the editor Šimon Špidla, connected them in an original, poetic way with the archive footage and with music specially composed for the film by Slovak musician Stroon.
“When I saw in the National Film Archives the raw footage that director Jiří Weiss shot with Czechoslovak airmen during the war, I found that I was able to make interesting connections with events mentioned in the books of both airmen. Our artistic intention then became clear, with the knowledge that we could work purely with archive footage. I invited Šimon Špidla to cooperate, and the whole process became a sort of creative dialogue. It is some of the freest and most joyful work I have experienced in the editing room so far,” said director Bojar.
The trailer for Good Old Czechs can be viewed at the following links
The film’s cinema premiere will be on 15. 9. 2022, Battle of Britain Day.
The film was produced by NOW Productions, in co-production with Czech Television, Radio and Television Slovakia, Artichoke and KM Plus Media with the support of the Czech Film Fund and the Ministry of Defence of the Slovak Republic, as well as support from private partners.
The distributor of the film in the Czech Republic is PILOT FILM.
The film was created under the auspices of the following institutions:
Ministry of Defence of the Czech Republic, Ministry of Defence of the Slovak Republic, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport of the Czech Republic, British Embassy in Prague, British Embassy in Bratislava
ABS Jets, Aero Vodochody, BAE, Bell Flight, Best Communications, Chapman Taylor, Dunlop Family, Flow East Foundation, Interlink CS, LOM Praha, London Market, Omnipol, Portland Trust, Promedica Praha Group, Saab