As insightful as its title is long, “The Key for Determining Dwarfs or the Last Travel of Lemuel Gulliver” is a unique, affecting film essay from Slovak helmer Martin Sulik dramatizing journal entries of talented Czech writer-director Pavel Juracek (1935-1989) during the tumultuous Prague pic scene between 1964 and 1972. Item is a must for fests exploring the creative process, and deserves international discovery via brisk TV sales.
“My memory is worthless,” Juracek wrote, yet his detailed narrative of challenges both personal and professional during a key chapter in his homeland’s history is an invaluable document. His debut feature, 1963’s “Josef Kilian,” was screened only fleetingly, and he spent balance of decade advising other filmmakers and struggling to realize his long-cherished contempo spin on Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver saga, “Case for a Rookie Hangman” (1969), which was promptly banned by the new regime. Though resolute in his artistic vision, Juracek struggled with alcohol and pills, dying before his time. Sulik cast the writer’s son Marek as his father, and ace lenser Martin Strba has duplicated the home movie aesthetic with uncanny veracity and jarring intimacy.