Extraordinary Times

Postava k podpírání (r. Pavel Juráček, 1963)/ A Character in Need of Support (dir. Pavel Juráček, 1963)

Friday, March 3rd, 1968
An avalanche of words and sentences that we never could have even whispered before is streaming through the newspapers, the radio, and the television. If what should happen does happen, it will fulfill dreams that no one believes in anymore.
It’s just that I’ve been drinking all throughout this remarkable time, this time for which I long ago stopped hoping, without even managing to register what’s actually going on. I’ve been lying around in strange beds, doing the same things there all the time, and meanwhile all around the lies and deceptions and delusions have been falling, people have been lifting up their heads, talking about freedom, about democracy, and parliament hasn’t been voting unanimously.
The marble that started rolling down the hill on January 5th is growing. Day by day, hour by hour. And I’m not there. I’ve slept through it, just staring in shock, drinking, treating my aching head …
I’m still afraid that it’ll turn out badly. I’ll wake up in the morning, the People’s Militia will be standing on the corners, and there will be a list of the arrested reactionaries who wanted to threaten our alliance with the Soviet Union. What’s happening is starting to be a revolution. A revolution of minds, a revolution of romantic rationalists … No one, however, has ever won this kind of a revolution. The healthy intellect usually does not prevail.

JURÁČEK, Pavel a LUKEŠ, Jan, ed. Deník: (1959-1974). “(Diary: (1959- 1974)” Vyd. 1. Praha: Národní filmový archiv, 2003. s. 587.
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  • What feelings does the author of the diary have about the political changes in the spring of 1968?
  • Do you think that the majority of Czechoslovak society agreed with him about the political developments? Why or why not?
  • Were his expectations fulfilled? Have a look at the Prague Spring – Invasion section or try to find out what the fate of the author of the diary was, and think about how he would have assessed the Prague Spring ten years later.


Pavel Juráček (* 1935, + 1989) was a Czech film director and a representative of the so-called Czechoslovak New Wave – a young generation of filmmakers who took advantage of the relaxed social atmosphere of the 1960s in Czechoslovakia to make films that symbolically expressed a critical view of reality. For Pavel Juráček, the diary was a space where he could express his hopes and fears completely openly. ­In the spring of 1968, it overflowed with feelings of excitement about rapid development, when the boundaries of what was possible shifted every day (Milkman not Agent!), but also fear that this development would be stopped by an intervention from the Soviet Union (a feeling that reveals that many people were aware of the threat of occupation). Juráček’s pessimistic visions reveal images of terror and fear that were normal in the fifties in Czechoslovakia, and many people internalised that atmosphere. The diary entries also explore the relaxed atmosphere of the art scene in the sixties and Juráček’s personal psychological problems, factors which influenced his experience of the political events.