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Home Events Current & Upcoming Details - The Karmazovs by Petr Zelenka in Ottawa


The Karmazovs by Petr Zelenka in Ottawa
The Karmazovs by Petr Zelenka in Ottawa
11.22.2009 - 11.22.2009 07.00 h
Library and Archives - Ottawa


 Dear friends,

this Sunday, November 22, an excellent Czech movie

"The Karamazovs" by Petr Zelenka

 will be presented at the European Film Festival in Ottawa.

Please, join us for the Czech movie night and forward this invitation to your
friends.During the festival, from November 19 to December 12, a photo exhibition "1989 as seen by photographers" documenting dramatic events
of the Velvet Revolution, is presented in the foyer of the Library and Archives.

Sunday, November 22, 2009 at 7 p.m., Library and Archives Canada,

395 Wellington Street, Ottawa

Tickets: 10 CAD and 6 CAD

For more information on festival program, please, visit the website of the

Canadian Film Institute



Fyodor Karamazov: For the last time: Is there or is there not a God?
Ivan: There is no God.
Fyodor Karamazov: Who is it laughing at man then?
Ivan: Probably the devil.
Fyodor Karamazov: And is there a devil?
Ivan: No. There is no devil.


The story of Petr Zelenka’s movie “The Karamazovs” takes place in contemporary Poland. A group of actors from Prague, led by a director of the play (Roman Luknár) arrive in Krakow to present a theatrical adaptation of Dostoyevski’s novel “The Brothers Karamazov” at an alternative festival organized in the unconventional environment of a steel mill The theatrical play, the plot of which evolves around a patricide investigation, tells the story of debaucher and cynic Fyodor Karamazov (Ivan Trojan) and his four sons: the instinctive Dmitri (David Novotný), the intellectual Ivan (Igor Chmela), the humble Alyosha (Martin Myšička) and the weak-minded Smerdyakov (Radek Holub), a bastard son from a bad bet. The eldest son, Dmitri, is charged with killing his father and stealing money. Two women are also entangled in the case: the passionate Grushenka (Lenka Krobotová) and the virtuous Katerina (Michaela Badinková). The issues of faith, immortality and the redemption of man present themselves as the powerful emotions of love, jealousy and hatred play out on the makeshift stage of the dilapidated mill. In its portrayal of searching for God and attempts to prove and reject its existence, a line of reason emerges: if there is no God, everything is permitted.

Simultaneous with the rehearsal we observe story lines from the real world, of the cast and of those who still work in this steel mill. Sometimes the effect is comic, but tragedy waits in the wings. A factory maintenance man (Andrzej Mastalerz) learns during the rehearsal that his son, who is in the hospital due to an accident at the mill, has died. The rehearsal continues at the man's request. Suddenly the biggest drama does not take place on stage but in the audience…

“We live like animals but we want to pray," is one of the ways that writer/director Petr Zelenka views this drama about morals, human character, human conscience, guilt, punishment and forgiveness. "The Karamazovs" is not only a psychological probing of the paradoxical Russian soul but also a reflection on the contemporary topic of man’s responsibility for his deeds. “I take interest in the theme of an intellectual’s responsibility for the thoughts he spreads in a society which has lost its faith in God and thus, its basic moral instincts. What happens when somebody kills another person in the name of our ideals, by means of our instructions? Are we responsible for it? Or to put it in simple words: Is an intelligent person responsible for idiots’ behaviour? This can be applied to our society. The Czech politicians, they are nothing but Smerdyakovs who commit huge crimes under the guise of the misunderstood ideal of democracy. And what about us? Are we responsible?” adds Petr Zelenka.


Petra Klobusiakova
Third Secretary
Embassy of the Czech Republic



Library and Archives
395 Wellington Street
Country: ca

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