The director reflects back on the first days of shooting his recently released documentary

Comeback (M. Remo, 2014)

More than five years ago, I was tempted to make a feature-length film. It was right after the positive reception of my short student film Arsy-Versy. Riding the wave of enthusiasm, I was looking for a theme. In the end, the theme has found me by some kind of coincidence. Once I had shot a short spot about equal opportunities (within an integration project of the European Union) for a French production company in jail. After it was finished, the prison director suggested that I can get back to Ilava with my own project. Years later, I called him, asking if his offer still stood.  It did.

I decided to add a screenwriter to my regular working team. I went to Stupava to see Jura Šlauka whom I knew from school. I had a hunch it would be a good idea for him to get some fresh air. And indeed; I found him rooted to the pub floor up to his knees. He seemed more than perfect for the project.

We decided to make a film about long-term prisoners. We have followed their lives behind the prison gate and explored the situations after their release. The film tells the stories of two prisoners who were willing to co-operate. I remember how we entered the prison cell for the first time, dressed up as inmates to collect material. I was ashamed of my prejudice. At the same time, I was fascinated by the space we have entered. We started getting to know our protagonists, co-operating with them and respecting each other. Gradually we have established a relationship. I guess it’s due to this fact that the film is not a mere report on the phenomenon of recidivism but also a journey beyond that. Despite the vicious circle of failures and tragedies, our protagonists are essentially sensitive, vulnerable and fragile human beings.


When I think about it, these guys actually feel at home behind bars. Each of them is looking forward to getting out, however, when their time comes, they know too well that it’s just for a holiday. It remotely reminds me of a short summer romance and its contact with reality. When the romantic deception ceases, frustration comes. It is a frustration from the inability to get integrated. The ten or twenty years are missing. You have basically nothing. In prison, you have made some 100, 200 Euro at best. Everything is new. You have no place to go. The dive into the alcohol or possibly drug pool is merely a logical outcome.  You are but one step away from recidivism. As a consequence, you go back to where you are taken care of. If you are lucky, you can try again in a few years.

The film was a long-distance run. I’m happy that it’s finished. When something drags on for years it’s immensely exhausting. You are constantly waiting for the moment when you can say stop and let the film out among people. When that moment finally comes, you take a deep breath and ride the wave of bliss from finishing the job. However, since I am a filmmaking recidivist, I already have new projects on the way.


Miro Remo

Miro Remo is originally from the industrial town of Ladce (Slovakia), where he attended elementary school.  He barely finished his secondary school (gymnazium) in Považská Bystrica. As soon as he was accepted into the documentary film-directing program at the Academy of Performing Arts, he left his mechatronics studies to study in the film atelier of Vlado Balco at the Academy, where he currently continues to work. Miro’s most successful film so far is a portrait of his uncle and grandmother called Arsy-Versy. Comeback is his feature-length cinema debut.

Comeback by Miro Remo will have a world premiere at Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. It was shortlisted for the documentary competition section.

Translated into English by Tereza Chocholová

more articles from a section:  New release

1.21Shooting About KunderaDocumentarian Miloslav Šmídmajer describes the process of making a documentary about Milan Kundera with the working title “Milan Kundera: From the Joke to Insignificance.” Miloslav Šmídmajer
2.20The Alchemical FurnaceJan Daňhel describes the concept behind his documentary film Alchemical Furnace that portrays the figure and work of Jan Švankmajer.
2.20Heaven over Today’s ChinaWhat is the story behind the feature-length documentary, Heaven, focusing on a Chinese Christian-run orphanage that is also a testimony about today’s China? Director Tomáš Etzler sees the film as a logical ending of his seven years in the Middle Kingdom. The second contribution was written by editor Adéla Špaljová who describes her collaboration with the director on the creation of the final cut of the documentary.Tomáš Etzler, Adéla Špaljová
2.20As Far As Possible Ukrainian documentarian Ganna Iaroshevych describes how she has been preparing her new film called As Far As Possible. It´s a portray of a man who decided to leave Germany and lives in the Ukrainian mountains fighting against the extinction of water buffaloes. „Our film tells about an alternative way of slow living close to nature and animals, and in harmony with yourself. And it seems to us that now this topic is especially relevant to many people around the globe,“ says Ganna Iaroshevych.Ganna Jaroševič
1.20The story of a small provincial townNovice Russian director Dmitrij Bogoljubov tells dok.revue about the circumstances surrounding the origin of his new film Town of Glory, a co-production with Czech production company Hypermarket Film and Czech Television. The film uncovers the mentality of Yelnya, a provincial Russian town that is one of the most depressing in the country and where the legacy of the Great Patriotic War still lingers – something Putin’s establishment has successfully exploited to gain the support of the local citizens. The film was available to stream for a short time in March on the portal DAFilms as a part of the festival One World Online. This fall it will be shown on Czech Television and possibly in cinemas as well.Dmitrij Bogoljubov
1.20Sun of the Living DeadAnna Kryvenko on the loss of compassion in the post-factual age, the battle with the chaos and hostility of the universe, and how to create a documentary essay from archive materials.Anna Kryvenko
1.20FREMWhat is it like to shoot a film in Antarctica? Is it possible to get into the head of artificial intelligence? And what is GAI? All this is described by the documentarist Viera Čákanyová in the text she wrote about her new film FREM in dok.revue.Viera Čákanyová
1+2.19Havel Speaking, Can You Hear Me?What were the two last years in the life of former dissident, ex-president Václav Havel like? How did he reflect on the fact that he was gradually leaving this world? Documentarian Petr Jančárek talks about his upcoming documentary film capturing the final stretch of Havel’s, life, the rough cut of which was shown at the Ji.hlava IDFF in the Studio 89 section marking this year’s anniversary of the so-called Velvet Revolution.Petr Jančárek
1+2.19On Adultery as Mirror of Our Own SelvesBarbora Jíchová Tyson, a visual artist, who has been living in America for seventeen years, has finished her first feature film Talking About Adultery this year. According to the author, the film is an essayistic collage and represents a perspective on humanity, which holds the mirror up to us all.Barbora Jíchová Tyson
3.16Gangsters, Helena and Me.Director and actress Petra Nesvačilová on her new movie HELENA’S LAW

starší články

30. 06. 2014

from current issue:

New releaseShooting About KunderaDocumentarian Miloslav Šmídmajer describes the process of making a documentary about Milan Kundera with the working title “Milan Kundera: From the Joke to Insignificance.” Miloslav ŠmídmajerThemeNest in the bedroomPeter Hames, well-known British film historian and author of the book The Czechoslovak New Wave sent his remembrance to Karel Vachek to our magazine.Peter HamesThemeNever stop laughingPaolo Benzi, the Italian film producer and founder of the independent film production company Okta Film, describes for dok.revue how he met famous Czech documentary filmmaker Karel Vachek, who passed away last year. Paolo Benzi is also the main tutor of the Emerging producers in Ji.hlava IDFF.Paolo BenziThemeBehold, if the river is turbulent he is not frightenedIn this English issue of dok.revue we have collected some remembrances to Karel Vachek, the respected Czech documentarist who died in December 2020 at the age of 80. One of the contributors is Olaf Möller, a well-known film theorist and critic collaborating with many renowned film magazines (Film Comment or Sight & Sound), film museums and festivals (e.g. Il Cinema Ritrovato or International Film Festival Rotterdam).Olaf MöllerThemeEvery human being should get to wear comfy shoesThe Czech documentarist Karel Vachek was a chairperson of the jury at Yamagata international documentary film festival (YIDFF) in 2009. The board member of YIDFF and the former director of this festival, Asako Fujioka, has a remembrance of him smoking his pipe and going to the mountains with Japanese poet and filmmaker Yoshimasu Gozo to recite poetry to the skies.Asako FujiokaThemeLike the dog on the beach...American film historian Alice Lovejoy writes her remembrance of Karel Vachek, the remarkable Czech documentarist to whom we dedicate this English issue of dok.revue.Alice LovejoySportPandemic as an opportunityJi.hlava's Emerging Producers discuss the opportunity that can emerge from crisisSteve RickinsonInterviewThe times of lifelong careers are overAn interview with documentarian Jindřich Andrš, whose film A New Shift won the Czech competition section Czech Joy at Ji.hlava IDFF2020.Vojtěch KočárníkInterviewGoing to the Polish Turf with Our Own TeamInterview with documentary filmmakers Filip Remunda and Vít Klusák about their latest joint film project Once Upon a Time in Poland that shows how religion and faith are misused in contemporary Poland for mass manipulation and political purposes. The film‘s Czech premiere was held as part of the Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival 2020.Kamila BoháčkováIntroductionDok.revue 1.21This issue is dedicated to the doyen of Czech documentary filmmaking Karel VachekKamila Boháčková