Kirchhoff & Remunda: Steam on the River

Skrevet den 22-06-2019 14:01:12 af Tue Steen Müller

Kirchhoff & Remunda: Steam on the River

It was a very entertaining afternoon experience yesterday in Banská Stiavnica attending the screening of the 2015 documentary by Robert Kirchhoff and Filip Remunda (they call each other Robo and Filo!) followed by a masterclass with the two that gave us, the Ex Oriente audience, an insight to the making of the film. And you could sense, from the film and the class afterwards, that it had been quite as fun to make the film, as it was to watch it. Let me tell you what the film is about through the annotation from the distributor’s catalogue:

„The story of three extraordinary but aging jazzmen coming from former Czechoslovakia: Laco Deczi now lives in New York, Jan Jankeje in Stuttgart and Lubo Tamškovič used to live in Paris. Laco’s close friend Chris DePino, a musician as well as a politician close to George W. Bush, is attempting to put on a concert of the Czechoslovak Jazz Stars commemorating the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Of course the concert may never be organized… A film about the transience of fame which is fleeting, just like the steam that silently appears and disappears over a flowing river.”

And yet this text is not covering what we saw. As Kirchhoff said the film is

about creativity, about these old people improvising, “trying to live a life in poetry”, being themselves, charismatic each in their own way. The film is full of fine surprising moments and it is touching to see Lubo walking through the Paris where he was once a star, going to the places where he used to play, having his last gig, Remunda called it a “documentary miracle”, where he is not playing the trumpet but singing, making the club full of dancing people. Without teeth in his mouth.

Being asked about their collaboration, Remunda said, that when he wanted harmony in the creative process, Kirchhoff was going for disharmony – and the two gave a tribute again to Jan Gogola, who seems to help everyone in the documentary circles in the two countries. The dramaturg went to the stage to “correct” the two directors in some issues, making Remunda say that Gogola always explains precisely what we have thought and done!

Jazz music was like an island of freedom in Soviet times, a freedom that Laco still expresses with humour wanting to write scenes to be used in the film, while the aristocratically well dressed Lubo walks around in Paris looking for Ray Steven Oche. The film includes the funeral of him, filmed in a very fine touching way.

While writing this Ivana Pauerová Milosevicová sits in front of me saying that she was at concert in Prague with Laco, celebrating his 80 year´s birthday, last year – he was young and energetic as ever. 

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