Dir.: Erika Hanikova; Cast: Documentary with Misco, Lenka and Michal Hanuliak; Czech Republic/Slovakia 2021, 80 min.
A new documentary looks at the merits and drawbacks of a controversial Czech educational system through one couple’s experience with their own son.
Czech writer/director Erika Hanikova (Nesvatbov) takes a year in the life of Misco Hanuliak and his parents Lenka and Michal. The couple opts for the rather dogmatic approach of the Kameveda (Comprehensive Multi-Developmental Education of Children) based on the success of founder Pavel Zacha, who managed to get his when son into the famous American National Hockey League (NHL) – a rare exception for a non-US player.
We meet Misco, who is still barely out of nappies when his parents fill every minute of his day with sport: ice-hockey, tennis, basket ball, BMX cycling, all forms of athletics and fitness training The Hanuliak home is a paradise for the sport obsessed, with plaques bearing the platitudes “Home, Sweet Home” and “Family, were life begins, and love never ends”. hanging over doorways. Bilingual Lenka, is a full time mother and coach, running around with a stop watch, checking her son’s progress in the various activities. Michal runs a business but still finds time to ‘coach’ Misco who has no friends, and only has time for the Kamevada obsessed members of his family
Whilst Lenka shows her son affection, this is usually coupled with him breaking just another record. The couple is strangely reserved with each, all conversation targeting Misco’s progress: more a work relationship than a love affair. Misco is certainly indoctrinated by his parents: at a visit to his grandparents he says “yack” to chocolate and “Yummy” to a carrot offered, whilst his grandfather congratulates him on his stance, telling him, that he won’t end up with a big belly like he himself.
Every obstacle can be overcome, with Lenka giving a good example, driving – to just another sport’s venue – in spite of a very high temperature. Even a visit to a beach is used for Misco to break another record. When the latter tells is mother, that he has seen a tramp fishing around in the bins of their apartment block, Lenka uses this as a didactic opportunity: The man has certainly not trained and worked enough, so he has nothing to eat. But if Misco trains and works hard, he will be able to buy himself everything he wants.
DoPs Simon Dvoracek and Lukas Milota adopt a “fly on the wall” approach with Erika Hanika staying a non-judgemental observer. A sad fate awaits Misco – and the many other children of this cult-like organisation which robs them of creativity and a identity thanks to a misguided group of parents, trying to give their children the success they never had, by making them into little “Stepford” acolytes. AS
MADE IN PRAGUE FILM FESTIVAL | LONDON 2021