For Semafor 0+

Miroslav Janek , CZ 2010, Czech version , 83 min

"For Semafor" is a journey through the contemporary Czech music scene taken by the music publicist and publisher Pavel Klusák, the documentary maker Míra Janek and the photographer Bohdan Holmíček. The line that ties these journeys together through recording studios, ambient living-rooms, electrified kitchens and attics, is the axis of an album which carries the same name and which is linked together by song-tributes to the Semafor Theatre and its protagonists Jiří Šlitr and Jiří Suchý.

Klusák's sensitive dramaturgy of the album and of the choice of the musicians includes a wide range of genres and styles, but it never degenerates to the blind chase after profit or hot hit-makers. The renowned film publicist searches for artists among famous festival bands (Mňága a Žďorp, Tata bojs, Wohnout, Ecstasy of St. Theresa), contemporary electronic projects (Magnetik, MIDI LIDI, Kazety), but also original solitaires (Petr Nikl, Jiří Konvrzek, Jan Burian, Havlovi). The result is an ambitious collage of seekers, experimenters and interpreters who approach the Semafor hits with modesty, loyalty but also with Dadaist deconstruction.

In the context of Czech documentary films, "For Semafor" isn't an exceptional or fundamental work; it is rather a film-chronicle that traces the birth of a unique album. The duo Klusák-Janek pursues a singular art project which includes well-known songs, meditations on the essence of particular lyrics, or the nostalgic memories of the participating musicians. It does not avoid the contrasts of rock-and-roll hits and dehumanized electronic music, or "children" songs and multicultural confrontation of the members of the group All Stars refjúdží Band, who come literally from all corners of the world.

"For Semafor" is a modest contemplation about the timelessness and topicality of the songs of the Theatre Semafor. Both the album and the film prove that the essence of the rhythmic and poetic jewels still remains matchless.

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