Jára Cimrman Lying, Sleeping

„The greatest writer, inventor, painter, physicist, skier and philosopher in the world these past hundred years was the great Czech Jára Cimrman. You can discuss it, you can contradict, but that's about all you can do about it.“

Jára Cimrman Lying, Sleeping

A fictional character created by Zdeněk Svěrák and Ladislav Smoljak, or a renaissance man from the times when the Czech land suffered under Austria-Hungary? A forgotten genius, who would have to be invented if he didn't really exist.

Who was this Jára Cimrman? Sadly, even in the age of the Internet, we still witness terrible ignorance of Czech history. Although we all use CDs (Cimrman's disks) and glass jars (called after Cimrman's first name), we forget who came up with them. It's always the one and only person.

So who's to blame for Cimrman never achieving fame and respect for his inventions? The patent office, no doubt. The same discoveries were registered always only minutes earlier by Bell, Edison and the likes. The only solution was working right in front of the office. This institution - a museum today - can be found in Liberec. Luckily it wasn't destroyed by dynamite. Unluckily, this invention, too, was unfairly credited to a certain Nobel person.

He was the "Greatest Czech", although disqualified from the contest of the same name, despite the fact that he would have won it easily. He was the first person to ever bring sea to Prague. Sadly, not for long, since its revolutionary image, more vivid than the diorama of the Battle at Lipany (Bitva u Lipan), only lasted for thirty minutes. It was all that Vienna permitted.

Fortunately, Prague isn't short of water, the river Vltava still runs along the Aleš River Bank and under the Charles Bridge. In both places Cimrman meets other great Czechs during his walk, from adventurer Emil Holub to Viktor Kaplan, inventor of the turbine. Who will you meet on your way? That depends which day you choose for your strolling around.

If you hear people telling you this man never existed, don't be fooled by them. Take them to Liptákov, to the village Vesec u Sobotky more precisely, where he spent a few years of his life. The local guide will tell and show you everything you need to see - his personal chamber, the school where he taught pupils, from its balcony you'll even see Vienna somewhere in the distance, the place of his childhood. The genius with a T-shaped scar on his face has never been closer.

Director Ladislav Smoljak
Cast Zdeněk Svěrák, Jan Unger, Valerie Kaplanová, Petr Čepek, Josef Abrhám, Libuše Šafránková, Ladislav Frej st.
Country Czechoslovakia

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