Sekal Has To Die

Sekal Has to Die

Sekal Has to Die, gaining a prominent place among the examples from the last period of the Czech cinema which had experienced its summit in the 50’s and 60’s in particular and has become less effective in later years, introduces the little heroes of a story strolling on those universal themes coming on the agenda with the existence of mankind and surviving through all epochs, the good and the evil. In short, this film is just a variation of the “midnight in the garden of good and evil”… The story tells about the delirium of a Czech village oscillating between life and death in the bright and hot days of the summer of 1943. Sekal, the Bastard who was a complete conformist, and now is the man of the Nazis in the region usurps the lands of the peasants one by one for nought and through threats. The council of elders of the village meets, attempting to find a definite solution to this problem. And finally the solution is found: Sekal has to die. But how? This question is also answered in the most “harmless” way; the Protestant stranger newly arrived, Jura Baran, should do this, and he will. But at what cost? Michalek has burdened himself with uttering big words in the world of little people seems to carry classic tragedies to the dimensions of the 20th century. The story where the good and the bad; the right and the wrong, the truth and the lie, the apparent and the hidden, the innocence and deviltry, in short black and white frequently change places and intertwine almost persuades us that a man worse than bad should die. Further, we also behave as if we’ve been persuaded. However as the film proceeds it simply proves that this is an illusion. The experienced cast led by Boguslaw Linda whom we remember from the Blind Chance of Kieslowski and who was awarded as Best Actor in Karlovy Vary as Sekal, draw Michalek’s film to a successful dimension. The film formed by “sharp” moments finally reveals this characteristic at the end in particular, avoids “pessimism out of desperation” and embraces “double-dealing out of desperation”. This is a film inviting those who do not search for the tradition of tragedy in Shakespeare adaptations only and who think that they can find similar themes and ways of expression in “different” films. As for the question whether Sekal deserves to doesn’t look like one to be answered easily. Murat Özer

Czech Republic
110'
1998


Script
Jiri Krizan

Cinematography
Martin Strba

Editing
Jiri Brozek

Production
Jaroslav Boucek

Cast
Agnieszka Sitek
Anton Sulik
Boguslaw Linda
Jirí Bartoška
Holy Jirí
Ludovit Cittel
Milan Riehs
Olaf Lubaszenko
Vlasta Chramostová

Music
Michal Lorenc

Awards
Actor
Actor Polska Nagroda Filmowa
Actress
Art Design
Best Actor
Best Film
Best script
Best Script Gdynia
Critics’ Choice Los Angeles
director
Ecumenial Jury Prize Karlovy-Vary
Editor
Music Czech Film-TV Academy Awards
photography
Producer
script
Sound

Festivals
5th Festival on Wheels
EUROPE EUROPE