The Dilemma

Zdivočelá země (r. Hynek Bočan, 1997)/ Country Gone Wild (dir. Hynek Bočan, 1997)


  • Describe the situation in the clip. What characters appear here and what are their relationships?
  • What is the subject of the debate, and how does it end?
  • What dilemma does the young doctor have to resolve? What do you think is the difference between “being a communist” and “being with them”?
  • Have you ever had to deal with a similar problem? What about your parents?


The clip refers to a specific situation that arose in Czechoslovakia after the military invasion in August 1968. One of the consequences of the occupation was to change the country’s political course. A key task of the new party leadership was to deal with officials and supporters of the Prague Spring (political and social reforms). During the purges in the Communist Party (1969 – 1970), 320,000 members were excommunicated, another 170,000 members left the party voluntarily, and there was a large wave of emigration. Economically, the population decline affected mainly qualified professions, including doctors. On the other hand, it opened up an opportunity for citizens who remained in Czechoslovakia. These opportunities, however, were declared subject to the approval of the newly established policy in Czechoslovakia, or even to party membership. Many people resorted to only showing loyalty publicly, despite internal opposition. This discrepancy between public declarations and inner convictions is one of the key features of normalisation in Czechoslovakia. This clip from a current TV series builds the character of a young doctor as a moral model who had the power to reject the hypocrisy of the system.