Chapter 24: The Giants Win And Lose
Again, there just had to be final blow. The newly installed hard-line communist government immediately banned "The Giants." I could see no logical reason, and I assumed they banned it more for the way Czech audiences reacted and cheered it, than for anything actually anticommunist in the story. But no one ever said anything to me personally. Zdenka tried to find out the official reason why my film was banned, and was finally told that it had been labeled "objectivist." That was a new word for me. I knew about objective, but what in the world was "objectivist?" It soon became clear. The Communists always had everything neatly labeled as "correct" and "incorrect." There were "imperialist aggressors" and the "camps of peace." They were not interested in exploring both sides of anything, nor any shades of meaning. My film pointedly did not show either side as the aggressor, and thus in the Communist view it was not instructive to the audience; it left the audience room for interpretation... it was "objectivist!"
Morton Schindel, as co-producer, still had the rights to the film in western countries, but the truth was, in spite of his enthusiasm for it, Weston Woods, with their children's story films catalog, had no real slot for it. A few copies were sold and successfully used in higher-grade social studies classes, but that was about it.
The fact that I had a film banned by the communists became a point of pride for me. The film languished in the locked cases of the banned films archive for 20 years. After the 1989 restoration of democracy, I received, together with the band of other, more important film directors of previously banned films, a certificate of apology and a token compensation for lost royalties, 2,000 Czech crowns, about $55, as symbolic recompense for 20 years of lost royalties! Come and visit me sometime and I will show you my long-lost film, "The Giants."*
* It was in fact shown at the Ottawa International Animation Festival in September, 2000