A big admirer and direct participant in the Prague Spring, Němec intended to make a documentary about it, capturing the first steps of Communist Czechoslovakia towards democracy in the late 1960s. Enthusiastically and even euphorically filming the streets of Prague full of unprecedented freedom and young people opened up to a new world, he could not expect that everything would soon be destroyed by the invasion of the Soviet army which would cover the same streets with blood and the dead bodies of young protesters. Peace turning into violence and chaos, as well as hopes becoming illusions and just nothingness, are the true subjects of this film which features the iconic images of Soviet tanks crushing the Prague Spring.
That footage, shot by Němec and his crew without authorisation, was secretly transported abroad and immediately went viral, as it was widely broadcast by Western television and defeated the propagandistic version of the same events fabricated by pro-invasion Communists. Screens together with The Strahov Demonstration.

Original title
Oratorium pro Prahu
Filmmaker
Jan Němec
Country
Czechoslovakia
Year
1968
Medium
35mm
Length
26’
Language
English
Producer
Claude Berri, Jean-Pierre Rassam
Sales
Facets Multi-Media Inc.
Cinematography
Stanislav Szomolányi
Music
Ladislav Štaidl
Cast
Gene Moskowitz