A Serious Conversation

Občanský průkaz (r. Ondřej Trojan, 2010)/ Identity Card (dir. Ondřej Trojan, 2010)


  • Describe the situations and characterise each member of the family.
  • What are the parents’ impressions from the meeting with the teacher? What are the boys’ problems in the classroom? Can you imagine having similar problems at your school?
  • According to the father, what does “tease” mean? What risks do you think the “teasing” boy faces?
  • Why do you think the grade in Russian is so important, and why is the boy so unconcerned about it?
  • Why is the holiday in Yugoslavia so important to the family? According to the older brother, what price did the family have to pay for it?
  • Do you think that your family or other families face similar problems even today?


In this clip from the fictional film National Identity Card, we see a family talking after having attended parent-teacher conferences. This situation could be an opportunity for the family as a unit to clarify its attitude towards the regime. What is apparent, however, is mainly the contradiction between the private and the public space. The father tries to explain to his sons his strategy and his motivation behind the fact that he behaves differently at home than in public and does not air his personal attitudes and opinions in public. They also discuss certain situations at school, where the boys did not conform and thus broke the unwritten rules. The older boy does not approve of his father’s strategy; he considers it hypocritical and sees in it only one goal: a family vacation to Yugoslavia (only approved families were given permission to travel). The boy also refers to the source of this division between public and private space – the occupation in 1968 (“the language of the occupiers”), after which policy was directed at suppressing any public discourse that did non conform with the official language. The father in the clip is thus a good example of the fact that control in society was not based only on decrees and monitoring, but on self-censorship on the part of the citizens themselves. The separation of private and public life guaranteed the stability of the regime. The family’s specific strategies, which are clearly shown in the film, differ from contemporary situations in everyday life. This is what makes it so interesting for audiences today.