Invasion of Privacy

Pouta (r. Radim Špaček, 2009)/ Walking Too Fast (dir. Radim Špaček, 2009)


  • What characters can we identify in the clip? How do they feel about the search and how does this affect their behaviour?
  • What do you think are reasons for the search? Are there official and unofficial reasons?
  • How does the clip depict not only the dissidents’ situation, but also that of their families and all of their relationships with the state?


This tense scene shows a police search of the apartment of the dissident Tomáš, which comes during a family argument in which Tomáš’ infidelity is uncovered. The State Security agent had pressured Tomáš to emigrate, which he refused to do, and therefore the agent is intensifying the pressure and is focussing on Tomáš’ personal life at its weakest point. The movie is set in the beginning of the 1980s (as you can guess from the sign with the logo of the Polish “Solidarity” movement, which the police are confiscating). Invasion of privacy was one of the repressive strategies of the State Security apparatus. Extortion and pressure via family members was sometimes more effective than directly persecuting the opponents of the regime. Although Tomáš’ wife is not actively participating in dissent, as the wife of a dissident she shares his social position and thus must also face repression from the regime. The search of the house is an invasion of her privacy too; she reacts emotionally, because her husband, for whom she must suffer, has been unfaithful to her. Although the film chooses an extreme situation, it represents a typical situation where the families of dissidents, who faced persecution without choosing to do so, were in a difficult position. Police harrassment was hard to bear without familial trust and strong emotional ties. These ties are clearly missing in this family, a fact that the State Security is using to its advantage.