With a permanent marker in hand, Olomouc bus driver Roman Smetana takes on the corruption and the injustice at the heart of contemporary Czech politics. When he starts drawing alien antennae on the portraits of politicians pasted onto the city’s billboards, one of his colleagues turns him in. The judge who tries him is incidentally the wife of one of the politicians whose billboards he defaced. Smetana pays a fine but refuses to do his 100 days of community service. The conflict soars between the courtroom and the street. Vit Klusak and Filip Remunda, the two names behind the bitter documentary comedy Czech Dream (2004) are the directors of Free Smetana – a TV documentary episode (part of the series Czech Journal) which follows the escalation of the political scandal set off by the bus driver who decided that he could not keep silent anymore. In the former communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe, we are accustomed to praising those who ‘resisted’ in the past. But how is the past political resistance being rewritten as today’s civic disobedience? As a society, are we prepared to accept these new heroes of the present, as they come from all walks of life? And, with an electoral year ahead of us, when we expect to see deeper political antagonisms and turf wars amongst our own political elite, where are Romania’s own Smetanas – and the film-makers ready to support them with both the camera and the spray-paint?
21 March, 19:00, Muzeul National al Taranului Roman