Jan 10, 2024

“The Last Race”: A Movie About Czech Skiing Pioneers and a Hidden Tale of Courage

Some like it Czech project invites you to dive into a haunting yet compelling chapter of Czech heritage with the movie The Last Race.

The gripping movie reconstructs the tragic events of the first-ever Czech-German cross-country contest and doesn’t leave out circumstances that have been unknown to the Czech public until recently. Watch this piece with English subtitles at Cinema Aero on January 16th and join the after-movie Q&A with its director Tomáš Hodan.

Buy your tickets here.

The Last Race (watch the trailer) tells the story of Hanč and Vrbata, Czech skiing pioneers whose tragic fate is still taught in schools today. It was the year 1913 when Hanč and his friend Vrbata died during a skiing race that was supposed to be the first Czech-German cross-country contest ever.

The unfortunate events happened in the Czech Giant Mountains, also known as Krkonoše, just before the outbreak of World War I., when the relationship between Germans and Czechs was strained due to a long history of ethnic, cultural, and political differences.

Back then, The Czech lands were part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, but Czechs were increasingly embracing their own national identity. The late phase of the so-called Czech National Revival is vividly captured in the film. 

In 1956, the movie Sons of the Mountains, also linked to this skiing tragedy, premiered. However, the director Čeněk Duba forgot to capture another important sportsman who did not hesitate to put his life on the line in order to save his Czech rival.

This person was Emerich Rath, a German, and an excellent athlete whom the communist regime tried to erase from our memory. Back then, German heroism didn’t fit the local narrative.

In 2022, The Last Race premiered. The filmmaker Tomáš Hodan decided to bring Rath’s name back to the light and gave him a well-deserved tribute. Using historical records, The Last Race emerges as a stirring portrayal of courage and resilience amidst the unforgiving whims of nature.

As the snow-laden landscapes of the Czech borderlands serve as a breathtaking canvas. The English-speaking audience will get the chance to ask the director about his in-depth pre-production research and ruthless conditions on the set in a dedicated Q&A session, held after the screening at cinema Aero on January 16th. You can buy tickets here.

If you want to know more about the event and the project itself, follow Some like it Czech on Instagram (@some_like_it_czech) or Facebook (@Somelikeitczech). 

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