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27 Apr 2018 19:00

It's Gonna Get Worse with writer Jan Pelc

A bold, raw portrait of youth adrift in 1970s Czechoslovakia. Based on the legendary 1980s cult novel by Jan Pelc with music by DG307 & The Plastic People of the Universe.

In the northern Czech provinces in the 70s, Olin, who has just been released from a psychiatric ward after he slashed his wrists in an attempt to avoid military service, throws himself into the world of sex, drugs and rock’n’roll searching for freedom in the country’s social and cultural "underground" scene. As his dreams of a world where no-one orders him about and stops him doing what he wants to do are not coming true, Olin together with his long-haired friends decides to act and look for it in the West.

Inspired by the underground bestseller by writer Jan Pelc who himself immigrated to France, this is arguably one of the rawest testimonies of the Normalisation period which followed the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia. The authenticity of the experience combined with hard-hitting images, incredible performances by non-actors and music by underground bands DG307 and The Plastic People of the Universe ensured the book´s cult status transferred to the film which premiered to great acclaim at the 2007 International Berlin Film Festival.

Petr Nikolaev, Czech Republic, 2007, 86’
Cast: Karel Žídek, Radomil Uhlíř, Filip Kaňkovský, Tereza Hofová, Mirek Škultéty, Perla Kotmelová

Writer JAN PELC will discuss direct inspirations for the film such as life in the 70s Czechoslovakia, being part of Czech underground and what it means to be exiled in France and work with Pavel Tigrid with former BBC journalist IVAN KYTKA.


Jan Pelc is a Czech writer and journalist. Having emigrated to France in 1981, he worked as an editor of the quaterly journal Svěděctví in Paris, supervised by one of the most famous Czech exile representatives Pavel Tigrid, while also contributing to Radio Free Europe programme. A chief editor of Světlík book edition, he also co-edited the Czech samizdat magazine Vokno. After the 1989 Velvet Revolution, he moved back to his homeland focusing on his writing career.

Raw, detailed and explicit descriptions are typical of his writing, delineating in particular the decadent and monotonous life of rebelling youth and outcasts living on the margins of the normalization society. It‘s Gonna Get Worse, Pelc’s most renowned three-volume novel, was published in Germany in 1985, causing a heated discussion among the Czech emigration society – accusations were made about the book's pornography and lack of patriotism. However Jan Pelc came second in 1985 Radio Free Europe's contest for the most popular Czech writer. His further work include  Sexual Misery And Other Stories (1991), Fireless Is The Underground, a remarkable journey into the history of the most famous Czech underground band The Plastic People of the Universe as told by one of its members (1992), Make Your Pick (2004), The Last Smoke (2006), and Kauai (2009).

Tickets: £7 + booking fee
Booking via Eventbrite

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Czech Embassy Cinema, 26 Kensington Palace Gardens, London W8 4QY


27 Apr 2018 19:00


Czech Center

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