The beginning and the film

Miroslav Tichý lived like a hermite for decades in a small town in Moravia surrounded just by a few friends. Now in his old age he has to face the fame. “They should have come earlier, now it’s too late, I don’t want this.” he says. In the art world, meanwhile, he is presented as a fighter against the communist regime. The photographs are being sold for up to 12 000 Euro.

In the winter of 2004 I came across an exhibition catalogue about Art Brut. One page was dedicated to Miroslav Tichý. There was a picture of the artist and a picture of his work. He and his work seemed not to fit into the exhibition at all. I became curious and tried to contact the editor of this catalogue, Roman Buxbaum. Since he liked my last film Schwejking he agreed to meet up. He told me a lot of interesting things about Mr. Tichý and they seemed to be the best friends. Two weeks later I was standing in Miroslav Tichýs house and said: “Many greetings from Mr. Buxbaum.”. I was shocked to hear the wildest combination of rude words. That’s where it all started.

We began filming at the same time when Mr. Buxbaum started to work with great effort on creating Miroslav Tichýs fame. We decided to film on 16mm since Miroslav Tichý was a photographer, and like him who never threw anything away, we too used a mixture of old and new material. In his house we chose to film on black and white material because it is his world and that world is so different from ours. We concentrated not only on him as a person but also on the environment and the art world. There is a great discrepancy of how he is seen and who he is. And that was also the core task to find out who he really is.

We started filming in April 2005 and kept on till December 2005. Then the editing began. In fact we started already in December and worked, with some minor breaks, until Oktober 2006.
Soon we tried to build an elliptic story following some rules in a script of Jean Rouche. The film begins on the surface and goes deeper and deeper till it is very personal and historical, then the story returns to the contemporary situation which is now seen in a different light. And finally in the end the secret of Miroslav Tichý’s photographing is unveiled.

2 responses to “The beginning and the film”

  1. I have known Tichy for many years and I recently saw Worldstar in his hometown of Kyjov.

    This film, as the title suggests, is more about Tichy’s rise to fame than about Tichy himself. Indeed there is comparatively little footage of Tichy and most of the film is comprised of interviews with people talking about Tichy. There is very little insight into the man himself.

    I also feel that the film is unfair to Roman Buxbaum. Mr. Buxbaum is no more “guilty” than any of the people who work with him. And, furthermore, it was Mr. Buxbaum who got the ball rolling…

    I find it disturbing that the more Tichy rejects fame, the more famous he becomes. It is clear that Tichy benefits very little from his fame while others in the artworld reap all the benefits.

    I suppose people find it cute that this saintly old man doesn’t want fame or this “success.” In fact it is used as an advertisement and the more Tichy complains about his mistreatment, the more famous he becomes.

    Tichy lived a brutal life and his rise to fame has also been brutal. I guess when you are a “madman” people don’t take what you say seriously. When you are also elderly then people listen to you even less. Tichy is treated nowadays with less respect than a circus freak.

    Some of my friends from Kyjov were so disturbed by this film that they left before it ended.

    The film documents this “abuse” very nicely and will be an important document in years to come.

  2. Hello Syd, I wonder whether you have really seen the film. 70% of the film is Mr. Tichý talking.
    Also I guess you were not in the cinema in Kyjov, I was there and just one person left…and came back.
    One more thing: you are in the minority if you feel the film attacks Mr. Buxbaum. Of course is the perspective Mr. Tichýs but the film does not blame anybody.
    Hope you have a look at the film. 🙂