Documentary on Karel Gott, the “Frank Sinatra of the East”, in the editing room
- Shooting on the doc wrapped several days before the Czech pop legend’s demise earlier this month
Revered Czech pop legend Karel Gott, whose popularity knew no geographical or linguistic bounds, and who had fans of every generation, thus earning him the nickname the “Frank Sinatra of the East”, died on 1 October this year. He recorded 293 albums and almost 1,000 songs during his career, which spanned six decades and saw him win the national music accolade, the Golden Nightingale, a total of 42 times. The singer was no stranger to cinema, appearing on the screen as early as 1964, and he even played one of the most memorable cameos in domestic cinema, appearing in Věra Chytilová’s The Inheritance of Fuckoffguysgoodday (1992).
Gott was the subject of the documentary Phenomenon Gott, directed by Olga Malířová Špátová in 2009, on the occasion of his 70th birthday, a film that was commissioned by a Czech commercial television channel. It became the most-watched television film of the year despite being lambasted by domestic film critics as a missed opportunity. But Špátová got another chance, as Gott and his wife approached her last year to make another documentary for his 80th birthday. The second film was supposed to be more intimate, according to the filmmaker. Shooting began in 2018 and wrapped several days before Gott’s demise.
Špátová is a documentary filmmaker and frequently works with her mother, Olga Sommerová, as a cinematographer on her projects, most recently on Jiří Suchý – Tackling Life with Ease [+see also:
film profile]. The new documentary is not supposed to be a showcase of the singer’s fame or success. “This documentary is a ‘thank you’ to my fans and everybody who has supported and accompanied me during my career,” said the singer. Špátová noted that the two films cannot be compared, as they shot the latest, which does not yet have an official title though bears the working title Karel, in “a different phase of Karel Gott’s life, and that will manifest itself in his personal, even intimate, confession…” added Špátová. The local distributor, Bontonfilm, called the film “an unusually open and unique portrait of Karel Gott”.
Špátová and her husband, Jan Malíř, the film’s cinematographer, followed Gott during his concerts, as he met with fans and at home. According to the filmmaker, the movie’s aim is not to present Gott solely as a singer, but also as a painter, husband and father. Špátová is already in the editing room with the footage, where she is expected to be working on it until the end of the year, as she told Czech Radio. “Our film cannot be boring,” repeated the singer during the shoot.
Karel (working title) is being produced by the Karel Gott Agency, and its domestic release by Bontonfilm is scheduled for spring 2020.
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