‘My New Face’: Czech documentary on acid attack survivor hits cinemas next month

My New Face (Moje nová tvář), a new Czech feature-length documentary from filmmaker and journalist Jarmila Štuková and producer Maja Hamplová, tells the story of a woman who strives to find the strength to live again following a brutal attack by her former partner. After premiering at the 27th edition of the Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival, which runs from October 24-29, it will open in Prague cinemas on October 26.

Nine years in the making, My New Face charts the life of Martina Půtová, who was left blind following an acid attack by a former partner. Her inner strength and determination helped her overcome what is unimaginable for many others.

“We had already covered acid attacks on women many years ago in India,” notes My New Face director Štuková, whose previous work has also documented violence against women in Afghanistan, Cameroon, Iraq, and Syria.

“The topic of disfigured women who rebelled against the system and even achieved changes in the punishment for such heinous acts resonated within me for a long time. I was searching for similar cases here, and that’s when I met Martina. From our first meeting, I knew I wanted to capture her story on camera.”

In November 2013, Martina was attacked by a resentful ex-boyfriend, who threw acid in her face. Only the second woman in the Czech Republic to survive such a brutal attack, she lost her sight and had to learn how to live all over again.

The documentary follows Martina from her deepest struggles to her greatest achievements – such as co-founding Burn Fighters, an organization that provides assistance to people with burn injuries. For her courage, resilience, and advocacy work, she was granted the Czech Republic’s Olga Havlová Award, named after the country’s former first lady.

My New Face (2023)
My New Face (2023)

“Martina won me over with her courage to move forward, not to remain stagnant in resentment and pain, which would be the easiest path in her situation. But she chose a different path,” says My New Face producer and co-screenwriter Hamplová, who also produced the fiction feature We Have Never Been Modern (Úsvit), which played in competition at this year’s Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.

The filmmakers follow Martina shortly after the attack, with My New Face encompassing nearly a decade of Martina’s recovery progress and adjustment. One of the main visual motifs of the film became haptics, representing physical contact through touch, which reflects Martina’s inner world after losing her sight due to the attack.

My New Face was produced by Barletta Productions alongside Czech Television and Hangar Films, and will be distributed by Falcon within the Czech Republic and Slovakia. In local cinemas, My New Face will also be available with a special audio commentary for blind viewers.

“I would like my story to be not only for women but for everyone, primarily a story of hope,” adds Martina herself in a press release for My New Face.

“Hope that even when you hit rock bottom, it doesn’t mean it’s the end.”

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