Saudek Brothers Documentary

By Dita Aseidu

Never hiding their sexual fantasies, the Saudek brothers have always been considered to be out of the ordinary, over the top rebels. There is no doubt, however, that the brothers possess an unbelievable amount of talent and personal style. The documentary starts off illustrating what has made them infamous, famous and why they deserve the respect of the audience. It ends as a dramatic story of two, rather unhappy men in their late sixties who are forced to face the fact that their best years are behind them.

Despite the fact that both Jan and Karel have had a remarkable career, they spent much of their lives overcoming obstacles that often prevented them from producing the art they liked. Their Jewish father, Gustav Saudek was forced to spend time in a concentration camp, whilst the twins were left to deal with the discrimination and racism that surrounded them. Growing up under Communist rule was also not a thriving environment for the artists. I asked Jan Saudek, how much of an effect his childhood has had on his life:

"Well, my childhood was a really sorrowful time and I don't want to remember it at all. The best years that I am living are just now whilst all the old people in this country will tell you that their childhood was paradise and now when they are 70 it's hopeless, and sad and its wrong. For me, right now is the best. I realise that I am not young anymore but I am free and I don't feel any fear anymore."

When Jan and Karel got together for the documentary, it was the first time in several months that the twins had heard from each other again. I asked Jan Saudek, whether the documentary had made him discover a side of his brother that he never knew existed...

"I realised that my brother - in a very strange sense of the word - is happy... in his house, with his family, he probably loves his wife and children, whilst I am a much more suspicious guy, complicated and I have got all the reasons to be happy but I am extremely unhappy."

An observation, that many would disagree with. Karel may have settled down and is happily married with two kids, but does not hide in the documentary that he has a problem with alcohol. In fact, its director, Petr Kanka, decided to leave in a scene in which Karel begs to postpone filming to the next day, having had too much to drink the night before. Jan, on the other hand, leads quite the opposite life, lets the camera film him naked, often bragging about his promiscuous lifestyle. In fact, I asked Jan Saudek, whether anyone had publicly taken offence to his work:

"Yes, sure. In England, I met girls from Women Lib - liberation - and I had a show and a speech and they felt offended because they thought that I am exploiting women and, believe me, I talked with them and then spent a beautiful night in the hotel with one of them and there is one thing that is absolutely untouchable for me and that is the womanhood and I would never try to offend or to have fun from somebody who is too fat or too crippled etc. I must admit that the only person I can have fun from is me."