We shot Beda working. His fingers looked like an old tree’s roots with a flattened thumb. “Paints are artist’s blood,” Beda said. From fingers, as from tubes, bright colors strewed on canvas. Beda worked simultaneously on different pictures; it appeared that none of them would be finished. Nevertheless, a moment came when he put his signature and date.
While looking through his works, we stopped at some. I was curious how Beda would comment on this or that image.
“Tell me about this cat. Does it have a personality?”
“A cat’s personality is not straight, it’s like a woman. Why is a woman’s personality not straight? Because she always stays a woman. Men are different: they want power, man is a warrior. At my age, when I see a woman, I turn my head and look at her, even if every night I am already talking with...”
“But you say you are unbeliever.”
“Yes, I am ‘neznaboh’ (Czech for atheist), but I talk to Him. I can talk, but I don’t know if He listens.”
“Why then do you have so many pictures from the Bible?”
“I like the Bible. Its stories are so beautiful, it is not like your Shakespeare or Goethe, it’s much better. I respect anyone who believes. I don’t believe. It’s possible, but I don’t know, it is not in my role.”
“So, maybe you are a gambler?”
“No. I am just a bad actor. There is a Director somewhere, and we are his actors, we think we’re doing things, but we are playing roles. Some play well, some not. I was given a secondary role and even this one I played pretty bad. Somebody else would have played it better, I think.”