A. B. C. D. T. O. P. O. L.

A. B. C. D. T. O. P. O. L.

A. B. C. D. T. O. P. O. L.

Photography: Vít Klusák, Martin Matiášek
Editing: Matouš Outrata
Sound: Tomáš Kubec

A.B.C.D.T.O.P.O.L. is a portrait of Jáchym Topol, a poet and a novelist. His works include among others a collection of poems 'I Love You Madly' and prose works, such as 'Sister' and 'Angel'. Now he has entered the word of cinematography. The documentary starts shortly before he had finished his latest novel 'Nightwork' and closes with him giving out his autographs at the novel publication.

The tension in the picture is incited by contrast between a word and an image, between the text shaping up on the monitor - the author's verbal expression and his doubts (some things are unexplainable) and between the images of material bodies and faces, Topol's actual presence in front of the camera, the materialized legacy of the author. There are things which do exist in a verbal form, family history, emotions, relationships, information brought about by the author's tale.

His confession is astonishingly intensive, for he declares at the beginning of the picture that writing is just a process of drawing more veils around oneself (opening his mouth wide at this statement). There are things that may be unveiled only by the camera. With the crew at his back, Topol is also forced to perceive himself as a virtual person. The film further makes use of the flexibility of his name: the name of Topol may appear at the final exams at school, it's a name which appeared in the credits of 'Angel-Exit', a film based on his work (the name's strength is multiplied when we see it on screens at a large TV store).

Documentary reflects the writer as he takes up manifold shapes. His presence is ever changing variation of his inner self. It can bring a feeling of walking among copies, mere signs hiding the true contents. Hence the documentary steps out of the frame of a common portrait, replacing static images with blurred obscurity and offering complexity instead of clarity and symmetry. The authors (both of them) had to face the creative will of their counterparts and the abundance of impulses fighting one another.

The documentary brings us among Topol's family, we meet his wife (I never thought that we'd be capable of such exhibitionism), his child, we can see his library. The family is the first extension of the writer's existence, the everyday tasks pull him out of the inside world he's in when he writes. Then there is his public face represented by sequences of public readings, talks with his brother Filip, and visits of places which bear some kind of importance for the author. The Lipan Battle tableau is replaced by a village that entered his last novel together with his childhood memories. That also reminds us of his position as a writer: Topol says that he doesn't want to be a rebel, just a good writer.

The men's transformation into a name in a book is reflected in the humming of the printer room and in the fact that the book was actually published by two publishers. The whole film is penetrated by the scenes of a Czech language class with students analysing his poems. Topol as a part of school curriculum transforms into a final test question.

Remunda's documentary is extremely visual, the director has a sense of irony, fantasy, he plays with the poet and three trees, he lets Gypsies on the roof of an old Prague apartment house read parts of his novel, he calls Czech Press Agency how much they'd want for information about the writer... He works with the most subtle details leaving the camera rolling as long as it takes to get maximum out of a scene.

Photo Gallery

Festival edition: 2002
Sections: Czech Joy


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