A day in the life and a life in a day of an artist M. Kren
Making fun of the Socialist Realism dogma, the ruling art scene principle in the 1980 in Czechoslovakia was and was not funny at the same time. It was not fun to think about possible consequences for us - the filmmakers, our careers, and the movie itself when presented to a panel of censors, but the process of making this movie was definitely fun. It gave me an opportunity to connect with a generational artist Matej Kren. Together we created and brought to life his alter ego art persona who performs and lives his one imaginary day in lieu of the artist himself in this documentary-experimental movie. Since we knew we faced the dangerous territory of the state censorship disapproval, we thought we could hide behind this alter ego dummy. Whatever cheesy alibi we had prepared for our denouement, the film is abundant in creativity and the myriad ways how the artist may approach the reality in the quest to achieve the artistry. Anyway, any dogma, the Socialist Realism included, wasn’t prepared for this kind of anti-dogmatic movie. We had been shooting this movie for about a year and we feared of the consequences when being screened and chastised in front of a National TV Educational committee. I, most of my crew, and the artist feared that the movie would be put in the vault and our pays would be cut severely, not to mention the official public and professional disgust about us, the young generation of artists. We knew well our colleagues, blacklisted filmmakers, or films being destroyed. At the end we survived, to our big surprise, we were honored by a smart and intelligent executive who backed us up, disregarded the whole panel of accusing censors, gave us credit, and hm, a good pay as well. It was a small miracle and it was unprecedented. However, the movie was aired only once.
If you are interested in a similar, but broader, and more populated film treatment, describing the situation in the revolting Slovak art scene at the end of the Socialist Realism rule, watch the movie about the semi-clandestine, underground exhibition of installations by eight artists From the Basement.