Hrebejk, Jan 1967-

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HREBEJK, Jan 1967-

PERSONAL: Born June 27, 1967, in Prague, Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic). Education: Film Academy of Prague (FAMU), graduated, 1991.

ADDRESSES: Agent—Total HelpArt T.H.A., Studio Barrandov, Kr<caron>ízeneckého nám. 322, 153 52 Praha (Prague) 5, Czech Republic.

CAREER: Director, actor, producer, and writer. Director of films, including (and producer) Co vsechno chcete vedet o sexu a bojite se to prozit (also known as Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Sex but Were Afraid to Experience), 1988; L.P. 1948 (also known as 1948 A.D.), 1989; Nedelejte nic, pokud k tomu nemate vazny duvod (also known as You Do Nothing Because You've Got No Good Reason), 1990; Sakali leta (also known as Big Beat), 1993; Ceská soda, 1998; Pelísky (also known as Cosy Dens), 1999; Musíme si pomáhat (also known as Divided We Fall), 2000; and Obsluhoval jsem anglického krále (also known as I Served the King of England), 2002. Actor in films, including Silaci, 1991; (as Woody) Septej (also known as Whisper), 1996; and Rok dábla (also known as Year of the Devil), 2002. Director of stage productions, including Dangerous Relationships, Bullets over Broadway, and Amadeus, all at Pod Palmovkou Theater. Director of television programs Dobrocinny vecírek (also known as Charity Benefit), 1992; Jak se zije zpevnemu svedomi naroda, Zivot spevaka a skladatele Vladimira Miskia, and Kde padaji hvezdy (miniseries; also known as Where Stars Fall), all 1996; and 60 (series), 1998; worked on television series Bachelors, 1997.

AWARDS, HONORS: Czech Lions award for best director and best film, 1993, for Big Beat; critics prize, Karlovy Vary Film Festival, 1999, for Cosy Dens; Academy Award nomination for best foreign-language film) Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Golden Kingfisher prize, and Don Quixote Jury Prize, Nove Mesto's Barrel of Laughs audience award, Kristian award for best drama, FIPRESCI award, Cottbus Film Festival of Young East-European Cinema award, and most popular film designation, Vancouver Film Festival, all 2000, and Palm Springs International Film Festival audience award, Febiofest film columnists and critics award, Czech Lions award for best film and best director, and most popular feature film, Sydney Film Festival, all 2001, all all for Divided We Fall.


Patosání (poetry), Mladá fronta (Prague, Czech Republic), 1990.

(With Petr Jarchovsky) Pejme písen dokola (also known as Let's Sing a Song and Let's Sing All Around; television screenplay), 1990.

Jak se zije zpevnemu svedomi naroda (television screenplay), 1996.

Zivot spevaka a skladatele Vladimira Misika (television screenplay), 1996.

Also the author of four one-act plays written for the theatre group "Ordinary Loves."

SIDELIGHTS: To American audiences, Czech filmmaker Jan Hrebejk is probably best known for directing Divided We Fall (Musíme si pomáhat), a film about a Czech couple who is trying to hide a Jewish refugee in their apartment in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia, despite the fact that a local collaborationist is obsessed with the wife and keeps dropping by at inopportune times. This film won awards at film festivals around the world and was often favorably compared to Roberto Benigni's 1997 Holocaust movie Life Is Beautiful. "Hrebejk has made one of the best films of the year," Evan Williams wrote in the Weekend Australian.

Hrebejk also achieved global recognition for an earlier film, Pelísky (also known as Cosy Dens). This film, shot just prior to Divided We Fall, uses the same crew. Both films were also written by the same man, Hrebejk's former high-school and film-academy classmate Petr Jarchovsky. Cosy Dens is set in the late 1960s, during a brief period of liberalization known as the Prague Spring. The story is told from the points of view of two families with teenage children who live in the same Prague apartment building. One family is in favor of communism, one is against it, but both children are united in their desire for Westernized products like rock and roll. Cozy Dens became one of the highest-grossing Czech feature films of all time; about ten percent of the population of the Czech Republic saw the film in theaters. Hrebejk and Jarchovsky also collaborated on Sakali leta. "Sakali leta," which translates as "Big Beat," is the name for a Czech type of rock music. This film tells the story of rock and roll's Czech debut at the end of the 1950s. Big Beat won Hrebejk and Jarchovsky several awards.



Contemporary Theatre, Film, and Television, Volume 34, Gale (Detroit, MI), 2001.


Atlanta Journal-Constitution, September 21, 2001, Eleanor Ringel Gillespie, review of Divided We Fall, p. P1.

Buffalo News (Buffalo, NY), July 27, 2001, Jan Sandberg, review of Divided We Fall, p. G4.

Entertainment Weekly, June 22, 2001, Lisa Schwartzbaum, review of Divided We Fall, p. 63; August 10, 2001, Gillian Flynn, review of Divided We Fall, p. 30.

Financial Times, May 30, 2002, Nigel Andrews, review of Divided We Fall, p. 18.

Guardian (London, England), May 24, 2002, Kate Connolly, "Hate Thy Neighbor: Czech Director Han Hrebejk's Oscar-nominated Divided We Fall Tells of His Compatriots' Opportunism, Cowardice, and Treachery under Nazi Rule," p. 10.

Independent (London, England), Anthony Quinn, review of Divided We Fall, p. 10.

Journal News (Westchester, NY), June 7, 2001, Marshall Fine, review of Divided We Fall, p. 9G.

Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service, July 19, 2001, Desmond Ryan, review of Divided We Fall, p. K3594; August 2, 2001, Jane Sumner, review of Divided We Fall, p. K0923.

Library Journal, February 15, 2002, Jeff T. Dick, review of Divided We Fall, p. 192.

Los Angeles Times, June 8, 2001, Kenneth Turan, review of Divided We Fall, p. F6.

National Catholic Reporter, July 27, 2001, Joseph Cunneen, review of Divided We Fall, p. 14.

New Republic, June 18, 2001, Stanley Kauffmann, review of Divided We Fall, p. 26.

New York, June 11, 2001, Peter Rainer, review of Divided We Fall, pp. 54-55.

New York Observer, June 18, 2001, Andrew Sarris, review of Divided We Fall, p. 19.

New York Times, June 8, 2001, A. O. Scott, review of Divided We Fall, p. B16; June 10, 2001, Peter S. Green, "First Prague, Then the World: With an Eye for Profits and a Nod to Hollywood, a New Generation of Czechs Seeks a Wider Market," p. AR13; July 18, 2001, Josephine Schmidt, "Filming the Comic and the Absurd in Czech History," p. B2.

People, June 18, 2001, Leah Rozen, review of DividedWe Fall, p. 31.

Record (Bergen County, NJ), June 8, 2001, Laurence Chollet, review of Divided We Fall, p. 7.

San Francisco Chronicle, June 15, 2001, Bob Graham, review of Divided We Fall, p. C3.

Scotsman (Edinburgh, Scotland), June 13, 2002, Andrew Eaton, review of Divided We Fall, p. 10.

Seattle Post-Intelligencer, June 29, 2001, Sean Axmaker, review of Divided We Fall, p. 30.

Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ), June 9, 2001, Bob Campbell, review of Divided We Fall, p. 23.

Time, July 23, 2001, Richard Schickel, review of Divided We Fall, p. 70.

Time International, September 3, 2001, Richard Schickel, review of Divided We Fall, p. 71.

Variety, November 1, 1999, Ken Eisner, review of Cosy Dens, p. 91; September 18, 2000, Eddie Cockrell, review of Divided We Fall, p. 40; July 9, 2001, "Auds United about Hrebejk's 'Divided,'" p. 38.

Wall Street Journal, June 8, 2001, Joe Morgenstern, review of Divided We Fall, p. W1.

Weekend Australian, December 15, 2001, Evan Williams, review of Divided We Fall, p. R19.

Winston-Salem Journal (Winston-Salem, NC), August 10, 2001, Mark Burger, review of Divided We Fall.


Czech Center New York Web site, (February 25, 2003), review of Divided We Fall.

Czech Television Web site, (February 25, 2003), interview with Hrebejk and Petr Jarchovsky.

International Thessaloniki Film Festival Web site, (February 25, 2003), profile of Hrebejk., (February 25, 2003), Nicci Tucker, "A Quick Chat with Jan Hrebejk."

Magic Lantern Web site, (March 4, 2003).

Sofia International Film Festival Web site, (February 25, 2003).*