Event Highlights: Film Screening – Alois Nebel
On Monday, April 22, we hosted a screening of the 2011 Czech animated feature film Alois Nebel. The film, directed by Tomáš Luňák, is based on Jaroslav Rudiš’ and Jaromír 99’s trilogy of comic books about the character Alois Nebel: White Brook, Main Station and Golden Hills. Luňák’s feature film debut has been shown at a number of film festivals and was selected as the Czech entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 84th Academy Awards. The screening, which was introduced by Igor Lukes, Professor of History and International Relations at Boston University and Honorary Consul of the Czech Republic, was attended by approximately 40 people, including a number of members of a local Czech-Slovak Association.
Summer 1989. Alois Nebel, a lonely train dispatcher at Bílý Potok, a small railway station on the Czechoslovak border, lives a quiet life. As a small child, Alois has witnessed the dramatic expulsion of Germans after the World War II. Sometimes the fog rolls in and he hallucinates, seeing ghosts and shadows from the dark past of the region. One day, a silent stranger carrying an old photograph appears at the station. No one knows why he came to Bílý Potok, but his arrival propels Alois on the journey to resolve the long-forgotten memories that are haunting him.
The story is set in the Jeseníky Mountains, a border region which is a part of an area formerly known as the Sudetenland. Hardly any place in Central Europe’s history of the last hundred years possesses a past with such vehemence and brutality as the Sudetenland. One of the darkest moments came after the World War II when more than 2 million Germans who lived in Czechoslovakia were expelled from the country. During this violent period about 30.000 Germans were killed. This huge trauma, which is still felt in the region and which Czech society still has not straightened out, is one of the main themes of the film. The main character of the film is plagued by recurring visions of tragic events and his personal memories of the expulsion. He must try to understand them if he is to find personal peace.