Films

Helena Třeštíková

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Helena Třeštíková

Helena Třeštíková(born 1949)

One of the most important Czech documentary filmmakers, Helena Třeštíková has directed some forty films since graduating from Prague’s FAMU film school in 1974. She worked for a long time in Czech television, which funded the hit series Marriage Stories  (1987), seven years portraits of young married couples. The series’ six episodes combined sociology, demography and cinéma-vérité, making the filmmaker very popular in her country. It was followed in 2006 by a second series, Marriage Stories 20 Years Later, which catches up with the couples later in their lives. Both series feature Trestikova’s signature working method, known as time collection.
During her years in Czech Television, Třeštíková showed an interest in female characters, directing several portraits of women with tragic lives. The disgraced actress in Lída Baarová’s Bittersweet Memories  (1995), the imprisoned opponents of Communism in Sweet Century  (1998), the victim of Nazism and Stalinism in Hitler, Stalin and Me  (2001) and the concentration camp survivor in My Lucky Star  (2004) all recount their personal histories, marred by 20th-century totalitarian ideologies.
Her latest trilogy of portraits (Marcela, René, Katka), shot in the late 2000s, brought her international attention. René won the prestigious Best Documentary Prize at the European Film Awards in 2008. Katka won two awards at the RIDM in 2010, including Best Editing. In these three portraits of society’s outcasts, shot over a period of ten to twenty years, the director focuses more than ever on continuity over time, patiently building stories and waiting for events that will signify a life.
She continued with her time-lapse method also in her latter works, like Private Universe, covering a span of 37 years from the life of one family.
Recently, Helena Třeštíková’s works have been the subject of retrospectives at several major festivals, including Buenos Aires IF of Independent Cinema (BAFICI), the Thessaloniki Documentary FF and RIDM Montreal.

 

Filmography (selected)

Romeo, Juliet, and Children (1974), A Miracle (1975), A Touch of Light (1979), Conjugal Etudies (1987), Out of Love (1987), Finding Ways (1988), Tell Me Something about Yourself (1992), Sweet Century (1998), Carmen Story (1999), Women at the Turn of the Millennium (2001), Hitler, Stalin and I (2001), Trapped and Trapped Again (2003), Marcela (2006), René (2008), Katka (2009), Private Universe (2012), Mallory (2015), Doomed Beauty  (2016), A Marriage Story (2017).

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