Director Václav Marhoul: The world fights for the world of the 22nd century

Crosses, corpses, looting. The family recorded a chilling testimony from Mariupol in a diary

Do you think the economic pressure the world is putting on Russia is enough?
In my opinion, these sanctions are quite brutal. Like many others, I think they should have come much earlier, in 2014 after the annexation of Crimea. But I’m glad they are and I was surprised at how united Europe can suddenly be. Their fatal effectiveness will only appear with time, so far only the current ones, the first shocks like the freezing of credit cards and others, work. The long-term devastating impact on the Russian economy will be felt in the order of six months.

Do you share the view that there is not just a war for Ukraine, but for a new world order?
Yes, about the world in the 22nd century. Since the end of the Second World War, Europe has worked, although with different reservations, but it has worked. Even in coexistence with Russia. This is not just about Ukraine, this is an attack on our existing freedom and principles. It’s not possible for just anyone to apply the motto in the 22nd century: I’m big, so I’ll take what I want. At the cost of thousands, if not millions of lives. So yes, this is about how our entire planet and the relationships between nations are going to work.

How do you view Putin’s recent purge among senior Russian generals and the secret service?
Nothing new under the sun, Stalin did the same in the 1930s. It’s a classic phenomenon of state paranoia. Many people think Putin has gone mad. I do not. I think he acts in a rational and planned way, but on the basis of bad information. In my opinion, he is surrounded by people who tell him or have said what he wanted to hear. When they stop, they will end up in prison. He simply received misleading information about the ability of the Ukrainian army to defend itself, what equipment it has, how it will react to the invasion. The moment someone dared to point out that the reality didn’t quite match the initial assumptions and data, it must have been a cleanup on their part. By the way – Putin has already lost the war. Military. It doesn’t look like it, but it is. Even if he magnificently occupied kyiv or Odessa, and then what? Nothing.

Where do you get this security?
I read a good insider analysis of a possible future phase of the war – if it turned into guerrilla warfare and guerrilla resistance. which threatens her. Even for a minimal leadership of such a struggle, Putin would need five hundred thousand soldiers. And he really doesn’t have that, that information can be traced.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during a video speech from Kyiv on March 18, 2022

Zelensky rejected Russian ultimatums. The compromise should be approved by the people in a referendum

We fear that the worst will happen, but there are. You haven’t even wondered in recent weeks what if Putin had pressed that fatal nuclear button?
Interesting question. Among us, I think he is capable of issuing such an order. This sentence of Marie-Antoinette “Flood after us” suits her perfectly. However, the detonation process is already quite a complicated matter. Under Khrushchev during the Cold War, it was still possible to simply press the red button. Oh yes. Today is different. Additionally, there are a number of psychological studies that show that around five or six different levels must be overcome to activate the respective weapons. On each of them is a man who has the fate of the planet in his hands. And it’s such a stressful moment that it really would have to be the rubber on all the tires for her not to think about what she was going to do.

A professional army from a NATO country cannot come to Ukraine without an explicit order to help. What can reservists like you do? And how many of you are in the Czech Republic?
Three and a half thousand. And the same applies to us as it does to active soldiers. We have a contract – generally for three years – whose conditions concerning the performance of military service in the Czech Republic are binding on us. We can’t just get together and leave. It is desertion.

Do volunteers have a chance? Several hundred have already requested permission from the president.
This is another thing. But complicated. About three hundred people would have done it. If they leave without permission, they commit a crime. It’s like that. A rather unfortunate thing also happened. We probably all noticed what Prime Minister Petr Fiala said about this some time ago. After lunch in Lány, he appeared before the media, saying that the president had said at lunch (!) that he would forgive all the volunteers who committed the crime and went to fight in Ukraine. Well, from a legal standpoint, that’s a total faux pas. If this pardon guarantee has been publicly announced by the president, please. But a guarantee of something “said at lunch”, I’m sorry, is hell.

Especially given the president’s shift toward the favored Russia issue…
Yes, by the way, you cannot ignore Senator Love’s statement. He hinted that the volunteers in question would not even try with an official request. Because, according to him, there is no guarantee that Mr. Zeman will not transmit their names to the Russian side. And I agree with that. For years, the president has backed both the criminal regime in Russia and dictator Putin, and none of his statements can be trusted now. In addition, the possible departure of such a brigade must be properly organized, under the auspices of the Ministry of Defense and in coordination with the Ukrainian side. They must be properly trained, which I insist.

Do you think unprepared adventurers go to Ukraine?
I have been in contact with several of them and have been overwhelmed. These are people who have had no basic military training at all, they really seem to be waiting for an adventure. But war is the worst thing you can experience. Total and unimaginable horror! Those who have no experience of it won’t stand a chance. History teaches that they will be among the first. In short, these people lack information – when and where I’m going, what I’m doing, what’s expected of me, what I have or don’t have. Having a gun in your closet at home, with which you go to the shooting range once a week, does not guarantee that you will be good at war.

Chinese President Xi Jing

China is turning slowly. It also provided symbolic assistance to Ukraine

How do you view the calls for a boycott by Russian filmmakers?
I am happy that the name of Nikita Michalkov fell during the Czech Lions. Because he is a heavy proputin. But I didn’t like the fact that the Ukrainian ambassador called for everyone’s boycott. Václav Havel has already said that collective guilt is inadmissible. I know the ambassador, I respect him, but those words were quite unfortunate. Coincidentally, a few days later I came across a joint statement by some Russian directors on the Internet, “No war!” They live in Moscow and other Russian cities, and they did it at the risk of getting low for fifteen years. He deserves admiration for that. Let’s not throw the Russians all in one bag.

What stage is your American film on McCarthy at now?
Postponed to next year. But not because of the war. Turns out McCarthy is a controversial project. His personality is quite difficult in the USA. Donald Trump has already disappeared from public view, but he controls the Republican Party, which is riddled with pro-Martha attitudes. Not that Democrats are saints, but they don’t behave in a way that violates democratic principles. Which, of course, the Republicans do brilliantly. Similar projects like our McCarthy are being watched closely. Moreover, it will be very expensive. Currently, producers are wondering where to shoot – whether only in the United States or half there, half in the Czech Republic. So with the cameraman Vladimír Smutný, we are waiting to see how it goes.

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