But Moscow’s tanks just biffed them out of the way as if they were plastic toys).And I have some sort of memory of immense crowds at the funeral of Jan Palach, though perhaps I have made it up (having been privileged to see at first hand the equally enormous multitudes who turned up for the funeral of Czech Communism in the winter of 1989) . I’m still not quite sure how ‘Operation Daybreak’, a western-made and financed film (it was called ‘The Price of Freedom’ in the USA, a title I’ll return to), got the co-operation of the Communist Czechoslovak authorities, less than ten years after the extinction of the Prague Spring.
It must be 40 years since I first saw the film ' Operation Daybreak', about the assassination in Prague of the monster Reinhard Heydrich.
I hadn’t been to Prague then (I would put that right two years later).
That unique city, as imagined but never seen, had a powerful, mythical, almost mystical hold over my mind. Recent visits, in which I have come to see it as a modern place rather than a dark and lovely stage set on which good and evil do battle, have rather spoiled it for me.
I do understand that its inhabitants much prefer it the way it is.
The Kafka associations and two films , ‘Operation Daybreak’ and Costa-Gavras’s now almost unobtainable ‘L’Aveu’ (‘The Confession’) about the Slansky show trials of 1953, helped fix it in my mind as a frightening place of violence, melancholy, gloom, betrayal, dungeons and defeat, but also a very beautiful one.
Later I would come to read Lionel Davidson’s charming and enthralling ‘Night of Wenceslas’, later very badly filmed, in which the city – lovely and captivating, but hiding terrible menace - plays a starring role.As is the case with anyone in my generation, my mind was also full of black-and-white TV news pictures of Soviet tanks trundling through Wenceslas Square (which isn’t a square, as I now well know), bulldozing trams to one side (this sight made me realise what a potent thing a tank is.I’d seen trams and thought they were heavy, a useful obstruction if needed.Estado de Sítio (État de siège) é um filme franco-teuto-italiano de 1972 dirigido por Costa-Gavras, estrelado por Yves Montand e Renato Salvatori.O roteiro é do próprio diretor, baseado em livro de Franco Solinas, com música de Mikis Theodorakis.A história se baseia em fatos reais: o sequestro no Uruguai do agente americano Dan Mitrione e do cônsul brasileiro Aloysio Gomide pelos Tupamaros, em 1970.