Czech Television Shooting Biopic of Composer Bohuslav Martinů

Bohuslav Martinů / Petr Stach (source: a FB)

In celebration of the 130th anniversary of the birth of composer Bohuslav Martinů on December 8th this year, the Czech Television is shooting a biopic about his life. The show My Life With Martinů is a co-production with Austrian television (ORF) and the Bohuslav Martinů Foundation (Nadace Bohuslava Martinů). The lead characters will be played by Petr Stach and Tereza Hofová.

“We didn’t want to make ‘yet another documentary about a dead composer.’ That is why we chose a combination of biopic and classic documentary, telling the story through acted scenes, archival footage and photographs,” said director and co-author of the screenplay Jakub Sommer.

The main points of perspective are Martinů’s wife, Charlotte, and his lifelong friend and biographer Miloš Šafránek. Their storytelling will take us through his youth, his years spent in the cultural mecca which was Paris of the 20s, his fleeing from the Nazis to America, and the composer’s subsequent success in the United States.

“Everyone with whom you talk about Czech culture and music will tell you that the number of composers we gave the world is fascinating. Bohuslav Martinů, without a doubt, belongs among them,” added the executive director of Czech Television, Tomáš Motl.

The core material from which the documentary draws is the book My Life With Bohuslav Martinů written by his wife Charlotte. It tells not only the story of a genius composer  but also about their relationship. Tereza Hofová will play the famous composer’s wife. Ondřej Kavan will play Martinů’s lifelong friend, Miloš Šafránek. The title role will be embodied by Petr Stach.

Martinů is an important composer of the modernist movement in music. He developed from impressionism through neo-classicism, expressionism and jazz influences, all the way to his own compositional style. He lived outside his homeland from the 1920s until his death in Switzerland in 1959.

His legacy is cultivated by the Bohuslav Martinů Foundation (Nadace Bohuslava Martinů) which owns the composer’s estate, left to them by Charlotte Martinů. The foundation also organizes the festival Bohuslava Martinů Days (Dny Bohuslava Martinů) which will take place at various locations, streamed online, between November 29th and December 18th.  In 1995, the foundation also founded the Bohuslav Martinů Institute (Institut Bohuslava Martinů) which gathers documents penned by the composer, with the plan to eventually publish his complete critical works.

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