The emotional story of Marcela, a woman whose marriage and divor...展开ce, as well as loss of her daughter were captured on film, won the award for best European documentary at the Sevilla Film Festival on Saturday. Originally a part a series "Studies in Marriage", the film follows the fortunes and misfortunes of Marcela through long-term observance technique – a style typical for director Helena Trestikova. Talking to Radio Prague, Ms Trestikova said that the film's success in Sevilla had come as a pleasant surprise. Marcela wins prize for best European documentary at Sevilla Film Festival.
Originally part of a 20-years survey of married life in the Czech Republic, this affecting documentary narrows its focus to record the extraordinary tribulations of one of the study's original subjects.
Back in 1980, seasoned filmmaker Helena Trestikova began an in-depth examination of the bonds between six newlywed couples, checking in with each pair periodically to track the course of their relationship. The resulting study aired on Czech television in 2006 as a four-part series. An unusually strong reaction from the viewing public to one individual in particular led Trestikova to extend the series with a fifth segment concentrating entirely on Marcela.
Marcela married Jirí the year Trestikova's study began. As the couple began to drift apart, the filmmaker focused more and more on Marcela. Following her over the course of 26 years, the documentary sees her through not only everyday problems and disappointments but also the considerable shocks she has endured: from her and Jirí's failure to secure their own apartment to their divorce, from the birth of a son with severe developmental problems to the sudden death in 2005 of her daughter, Ivana - a tragedy that leaves Marcela caught between near-suicidal despondency and a renewed sense of responsibility toward her remaining child.
Trestikova's attentiveness as a director and her presence at major turning points in Marcela's life movingly indicate the ways in which the line between neutral observer and caring participant can blur. Combining sympathetic reflection with clear-eyed realism, Trestikova finds not only dramatic resonance in her subject's day-to-day affairs but also meaning in the exceptional misfortunes that beset human existence.