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Home >> Life
UPDATED: 10:55, July 18, 2006
Czechs find Chinese subjects of 'lost holiday' snaps
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Searching for six Chinese people who could be anywhere on Earth might be far worse than looking for a needle in a haystack, especially the only clues the seekers have are photographs. But that is exactly what some Czechs have tried to do and they succeeded.

Three years ago, a Czech traveller named Lada Jelinek found a dirty suitcase by chance in a waste container in Sweden's Goteborg. Inside was a plastic bag full of film rolls.

Jelinek took all 22 rolls back to Prague and had them developed. The result was fascinating: 756 photos of six unknown Asian tourists dated from May to July of 2001. Many of the photos were taken in Germany and Norway.

Jelinek's friend Lucie Kralova and another six Czechs, most of whom were students of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, decided to find the unknown Asians and give the photos back to them.

They asked experts on Asia, Asian tourists in Prague and Chinese living in the city. They had positively identified the photographed people as Chinese according to their physiognomy and attire.

The Czech team spent three years and covered a route of more than 5,000 kilometres to follow the traces of the six Chinese. They recorded the whole procedure to make a documentary film about the journey to find the photographs' subjects.

The team successfully tracked down a German couple that were in the pictures and a cook at a Norwegian town. They all still remembered the six Chinese, but could not provide any more useful information.

"We have visited several tourist destinations where the pictures were taken. However, the majority of the 756 recovered images were taken in remote corners of Norway spots well hidden in nature that were hard to identify. We have managed to locate these places," said the project staff on its website

In May 2005, they also organized an exhibition of the recovered pictures in Prague, thanks to which they managed to identify certain spots where the Chinese took pictures.

The film was broadcast on China Central Television (CCTV) over the weekend. The six Chinese in the spotlight, all government officials from North China's Hebei Province, contacted CCTV by phone shortly afterwards. But they have not contacted the Czechs behind the effort.

"It is really incredible, it is like a miracle," said Kralova, director and co-author of "Lost Holiday."

"The most important scene in the film should be our meeting with the six Chinese to give them their photos back, to explain to them the story and to ask them many questions They are our friends now All the team have dreamed about them, we have practically lived with them for almost three years," she said.

The film was an independent creative documentary movie made in co-production with Czech television and Academy of Performing Arts Prague.

Source: China Daily

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