Scene from the film Family Business
Scene from the film Family Business
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Family Business

  • Czech Republic
Audio Tracks 

Found footage, film collage, composed in layers comprised of old photographs, 8mm, 16mm, VHS footage, films and tapes from a family archive. The documentary follows the extraordinary fate of a “famous” artistic family living in a dilapidated Art Nouveau house in a region with a strong tradition of stonemasons and sculptors – in the Czech village of Hořice at the foot of the Krkonoše Mountains – spanning most of its history from the late 19th century until the present day. The director returns with his father to his hometown to discover that their family house, built in 1902 – 1905 and his father’s inherited collection of art works are completely in ruins. The family treasure boasts of crumbling pieces by several generations of sculptures, including Josef Wagner. The film gradually uncovers personal, cultural and political contexts of the family linked through the recurring motif of the house and the adjacent garden. The main line of the film revolves around the relationship of two brothers – Josef Wagner – painter, architect and the director’s father, and his deceased brother Jan Wagner – sculptor and the director’s uncle. They are joined by many other minor characters that appear in memories captured on old sound recordings and faded video footage, including poet Jaroslav Seifert, photographer Josef Sudek, and the communist elite attending an unusual birthday party. The motif of the house recurs in fragments and hints almost throughout the whole history of the 20th century. The film was composed exclusively of private family recordings with added 16mm footage of an old dilapidated house – a monument of the past. At the same time it continues in the tradition of found footage film experiments. And yet, unlike in the case of formal experiment, the director applies the found-footage method to narrate a seemingly ordinary story of a family and its house in the flow of time.


  • Original Title
    Rodinné záležitosti
  • Direction
  • Screenplay
    Jakub Wagner
  • Cinematography
    Marek Brožek
  • Editing
    Jakub Wagner
  • Runtime
    56 min (46-90 min.)
  • Year
  • Country
    • Czech Republic
  • Format
    • Colour
  • Production
  • Festivals
    • Jihlava IDFF 2014
  • Awards
    • Cena Andreje Stankoviče 2015 is powered by Doc Alliance, a creative partnership of 7 key European documentary film festivals. Our aim is to advance the documentary genre, support its diversity and promote quality creative documentary films.

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