Originally an eight-part miniseries for Czech television, Sikl's cycle recollects the history of Czechoslovakia throughout the twentieth century by using different families' home movies with narration based on memoirs, diaries, and interviews with surviving friends and family. Each episode tells a distinctive story (though a couple are related), and together they form a powerful alternative to any notion of an official history that privileges politicians and isolated demographics. Instead, the only milestones celebrated here are births, first loves, family gatherings and other minutiae that capture joys both banal and transcendent. The tragedies, however, are inexorably linked to the larger political climate, and Sikl's microcosms bring much-needed specificity to the ambiguities of history's annals.
Read my full review of Private Century here at The L Magazine.
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