Josef is a young man, who is caught in the chaos and destruction of World War I. Despite the bleak reality he never ceases to try to make the best out of what there is and grows from a duty avoiding teen into a responsible commander who helps to bring the Czechoslovak Legions accross war-torn Russia and Asia back to Europe. This animation short film based on the real diaries of the director’s great-grandfather tries to capture the portrait of a simple man surviving through extraordinary times. Not as a hero saving the day, but as someone who always manages to find beauty in small details and stay human among both friends and enemies, who are all affected by the horrors of war in the same way, no matter what side they are on.
To me Josef’s diaries tell a very universal story, one that transcends time and its historical context. It is not a story about a war, it is a story about humans, that might be in war, in dif- ferent times and on different sides, but who are inevitably all the same. Josef could be a grandfather to any one of us, any one of us could be him. To use his words we are all but walnut shells tossed around in the ocean and what is left of us can be packed into one small suitcase.