Project Description

Poster, pop, politics.

The Story of an Artist Who Created a Style

Screening at the EFM Berlinale film market
Tuesday, February 25, 2020 – 9:15 a.m. – CinemaxX 17
Access with EFM market badge only

The feature documentary tells the story of Art Nouveau artist Alphonse Mucha from the perspective of his son, the writer and bon-vivant Jiří Mucha, with an abundance of re-enactments, animations, archive footage as well as paintings and photos.

At the end of the 19th century, the Czech artist Alphonse Mucha (1860-1939) ranked among the pioneers of the Art Nouveau movement. Virtually overnight, he became famous in Paris thanks to his posters of star actress Sarah Bernhardt. But at the height of his fame, Mucha left Paris to realise his lifetime project “The Slav Epic”. He worked on the monumental cycle of paintings for 18 years – only to meet fierce criticism upon completion.

In the 1960s, the hippie movement rediscovered his pictorial world and his Art Nouveau posters attained cult status. Mucha continues to inspire many artists even today. In the documentary, graphic designer Stanley Mouse, graffiti artist Mear One and illustrator Yoshitaka Amano talk about his influence on their works. Nevertheless, Alphonse Mucha is perhaps one of the most famous unknown artists in the world.

director: Roman Vávra
genre: documentary 
duration: theatrical  ca. 95 min. / TV 52 min.
format: 2K / DCP

completion: May 2020

Czech title Svět podle Muchy

director Roman Vávra
script writer Markéta Sára Valnohová, Roman Vávra
story & script advisor Martin Polák
cinematographer Martin Štěpánek
composer André Feldhaus
montage Katarina Geyerova Buchanan

animations Rainer Ludwigs Image-Building
director of animation Rainer Ludwigs
assistant animation director Tetyana Chernyavska

architect Milan Popelka
property-girl Martina Zwyrtek, Jana Marková
costume Ivana Štastná
mask Iveta Huptychová
sound Jiří Hruban
trailer editor Arno Schumann, Montagehalle

Martin Stránský (Jiří Mucha)
Tomaš Konarik (young Alphonse Mucha)
Antonín Nový (old Alphonse Mucha)

head of international co-productions Czech Television Markéta Štinglová
commissioning editor/creative producer Czech Television
Dušan Mulíček
commissioning editor ARTE G.E.I.E. Olaf Rosenberg
executive producer Punk Film Jakub Pinkava, Barbora Kinkalová
executive producer Czech Television Pavel Plešák
line producer maxim film Henriette Degener
line producer Czech Television
Markéta Tulisová
line producer Punk Film Michael Jan Ennis
producer Ondřej Beránek, Jakub Pinkava
co-producer Peter Roloff

institutional funding by Czech Film Fund, nordmedia Lower Saxony/Bremen, Pilsen, South Moravia Region, City of Brno

production Punk Film, s.r.o., Prague
in co-production with Czech Television, ARTE & maxim film

in cooperation with Mucha Foundation

world sales NEW DOCS

Alphonse Mucha’s artistic legacy has two faces: the global, popularised one in the form of posters and decorative creations from the field of applied art, and the one only known in the Czech Republic in the form of the painful dispute about the fate of the Slav Epic. The cause of the dispute and of the two artistic faces of Alphonse Mucha is encoded in his life journey, in Mucha himself. The documentary presents the fate of one of the most famous Czech artists as an artist’s journey in search of his artistic identity and the desire of an individual to give his life purpose.

The story of Alphonse Mucha (1860–1939) is told by his son Jiří, who is working on his father’s memoires and coming to terms with his father’s legacy. Jiří Mucha (1914-1991) was a Czech journalist, writer, screenwriter, author of autobiographical novels and studies of the works of his father, a war hero from Royal Air Force and adventurer. In the 1950s he was tortured by communist regime and broken by them he signed in as a secret agent of communist state police. His popularity raised in the middle of sixties by presenting the work and life of his father Alphonse Mucha. Jiří Mucha lived in an old apartment near Prague Castle full of his father´s original paintings and belongings. The place itself is kind of time bubble and looks like a 19th century studio. The audience touches the original atmosphere of Mucha family and understands Mucha´s son own time and life, overshadowed by his father’s fame.

In the 1960s Mucha´s masterpiece Slav Epic were nearly lost, and his posters were to be seen just in old books. Suddenly, a Japanese gallery is interested in an exhibition of Mucha´s work in Japan, Hippies find in Mucha a kind of psychedelic guru. His work is now reflected in street art, “psychedelic rock” posters and Japanese manga novels as well as in the style of the American comic book publisher Marvel. That is why artists who openly profess his legacy and whose work is well-known and appreciated will appear in the documentary, namely Stanley Mouse, who is a leading creator of posters for music groups and musicians the likes of the Grateful Dead. Another representative of Mucha’s contemporary influence is the American artist Mear One, who became famous chiefly for his graffiti art even outside the street art community and who is the author of the greater-than-life-size portrait of Alphonse Mucha on the façade of a building in Los Angeles. The Japanese link is represented by illustrator Yoshitaka Amano, whose most important work includes his contribution to the Final Fantasy computer game and his forthcoming cooperation with Mucha foundation on the “Mucha and Manga” exhibition. The film shows these authors working in their studios and confront them with Mucha´s work to get their inner inspiration sources and talk about their connections with an old master.

Mucha’s art and Mucha as an artist survived thanks to posters and design. This is a great paradox, as Mucha wanted to achieve a different artistic ideal: he wanted to be the painter of large canvasses after the fashion of the masters of academic painting. And as one of the most famous creators of the last international style, he saw fulfilment and artistic ideal in creating something for the nation. These contradictions laid the groundwork for conflicts in his life. One such specific conflict experienced by Mucha was his desire to establish himself in Czech society and in the field of art. The latter in particular were slated to failure because contemporary painters did not accept Mucha and a dispute erupted between him and the members of the Manes Union of Fine Arts.

Rejection and willfulness are the leitmotifs that Alphonse Mucha often had to come to terms with often during his life. Even his artistic career began by being rejected by the Academy in Prague, which, however, made him more entrenched in his pursuit of his calling to be a painter. Prague rejected him a second time with his Slav Epic. Twenty years later, Mucha, in a country occupied by the Wehrmacht, died believing that the Czech nation would eventually appreciate his artistic gift.

in 2020

Theatrical & DVD distribution Czech Republic
Bonton Film

Screening at the EFM Berlinale film market
Tuesday, February 25, 2020 – 9:15 a.m. – CinemaxX 17
Access with EFM market badge only

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