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Born in 1940. Studied direction at the Prague Film Academy (FAMU) under Elmar Klos. In 1963 he shot his thesis film, Moravian Hellas, in Strážnice, then-Czechoslovakia, about their traditional folk celebrations. The film’s unusual approach—blending humor and intellectual aggression—caused furor and indignation as well as admiration in official cultural and political circles. It took several years for it to be allowed to be screened publicly. As a director with the Krátký Film studio in Prague in 1968, Vachek shot the film Elective Affinities a legendary portrait of the protagonists of the Prague Spring during the presidential elections of that year. He had to leave Krátký Film with the onset of the post-1968 “normalization” process, working in manual trades until emigrating with his family in 1979 to the USA via France. Due to his wife’s bad health, he eventually returned. After 1989 he returned to Krátký Film and, over time, completed an extensive film tetralogy that portrays Czech society from the 1990s to the next century in his inimitable style.

Since 1994 he has taught at FAMU in the Documentary Film Department becoming its head in 2002. With his films and professional stance he has influenced many younger artists (e.g. Jan Gogola jr., Vít Janeček, Filip Remunda, Vít Klusák, Martin Mareček, Erika Hníková, Theodora Remundová). In 2004 he published a book, The Theory of Matter, which is an important conceptual milestone as regards his newest film, Záviš, the Prince of Pornofolk Under the Influence of Griffith’s Intolerance and Tati’s Mr. Hulot’s Holiday, or The Foundation and Doom of Czechoslovakia [1918 – 1992] . In 2008, the AMU publishing house released Karel Vachek, etc. by Martin Švoma.


Moravian Hellas (1963)
Elective Affinities (1968)
New Hyperion or Liberty, Equality, Brotherhood (1992)
What Is to Be Done? (A Journey from Prague to Český Krumlov, or How I Formed a New Government) (1996)
Bohemia Docta or The Labyrinth of the World and the Lust-house of the Heart (A Divine Comedy) (2000)
Who Will Watch the Watchman? Dalibor, or the Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin (2002)
Záviš, the Prince of Pornofolk Under the Influence of Griffith’s Intolerance and Tati’s Mr. Hulot’s Holiday or The Foundation and Doom of Czechoslovakia (1918–1992) (2006)
Obscurantist and His Lineage or The Pyramids' Tearful Valleys (2011)
Communism and the Net or The end of Representative Democracy (2019)

Obscurantist and His Lineage or The Pyramids' Tearful Valley

Obscurantist and His Lineage or The Pyramids' Tearful Valleys

Year of production 2011
Written by Karel Vachek
Screenplay Karel Vachek
Director Karel Vachek
Dir. of photography Karel Slach
Editing Renata Pařezová
Sound Libor Sedláček
Production Produkce Radim Procházka, Czech TV, atelier.doc

Oldřich Nový, Egon Bondy, Erich Von Daniken, George Eashkara, Yoshimasu Gozo, Zdeňek Hajný, Iveta Hudáková, Miloš Jesenský, Helena Kettnerová, Marie Lowovová, Ivan Mackerle, Yehezkel Meyerowitz, Ivan Miloševič, Raymond A. Moody, Milan Nakonečný, Dalibor Novák, Barack Obama, František Petrák, Joseph Ratzinger, Zecharia Sitchin, Eva Tálská, Jiří Wojnár, Janusz Zagórski


The world of magic and God of mystics in (the classic documentarist) Karel Vachek´s film novel about alien as well as earthly civilisations, advertocracy and internet democracy. Comprehended as well as unfathomable reality, relationship of mythology with history in correlation to multidimensional spaces of quantum physics and politico-societal organisation of the world around us. Obscurantist was filmed in the USA, Japan, Great Britain, Bosna and Herzegovina, Slovakia, Poland, Austria, Germany as well as the Czech Republic. Erich von Däniken and Raymond Moody among many others appearing in the film.


2011 Jihlava IDFF – Film New Europe Prix for international co-production
2012 Andrej Stankovič Award „Animus“ – for the best czech film of 2011