Country Focus: Czech Republic
Domestic Czech films accounted for half of the country’s top ten movies in 2013
by Martin Kudláč
- Czech exhibitors put on 413,251 screenings in 2013 (a growth of 2.75% compared to 2012), generating €52 million (an increase of 11.65%), even though the total annual admissions dropped by 1.11%.
The box-office champion tuned out to be domestic light-hearted folk comedy Babovřesky, which attracted 652,458 viewers (and generated €3 million), paving the way for Babovřesky 2 (released on 20 February) and Babovřesky 3 (due in 2015). Last year, Czech films took the top 10 by storm, occupying five places among US productions. Fourth place was clinched by the drama The Story of Godfather (295,683 admissions) and fifth by animated film The Lucky Four Serving the King (269,546 admissions), based on the cult Czech children’s comic book first published in 1969. Director Alice Nellis’ Revival [+see also:
interview: Alice Nellis
film profile] (240,312 admissions), her story about the comeback of a rock band from Socialist times, achieved eighth place, followed by the unconventional Christmas fairy-tale Wings of Christmas (237,042 admissions), which ranked ninth.
The most successful documentary feature of 2013 was Crooks (34,261 admissions), which debunks the dubious practices behind product demonstration excursions for elderly people, who are manipulated into buying overpriced, low-quality products – a widespread phenomenon in the Czech Republic, as it takes place under the radar of the Czech authorities. The documentary not only uncovers the unethical, exploitative nature of these demonstrations, but also provides a sociological dimension to it. Among the duped senior citizens are some who have been swindled repeatedly. The backlash was instant: the documentary prompted the government to approve new regulations, and commercial inspection authorities became more attentive to such events in order to prevent this kind of immoral behaviour. The film’s visibility was also boosted by the media’s outraged reactions.
The most talked-about and highly awarded Czech production, Agnieszka Holland’s Burning Bush [+see also:
film profile], was seen by 17,384 viewers. The story of an infamous act of martyrdom by a student, Jan Palach, and the subsequent quest by young lawyer Dagmar Burešová to redeem his name and that of his family was originally made as a miniseries and released on television prior to the theatrical run. The psychological drama Like Never Before [+see also:
film profile] by Zdeněk Tyc, which won two prizes for Best Actor and Best Actress in the Czech Film Critics’ Awards, was seen by only 2,783 cinemagoers.
The 2013 market share was comprised of 65% US productions (an increase of 4%), 24% domestic productions (no change from last year), 9% European films (a fall of 5% compared to 2012) and 2% others.