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PRODUCTION Czech Republic

Czech “civilisation horror” Domestique in the making


- Czech director Adam Sedlák is readying his feature debut, at first glance a sports drama about people caught in a spiral of their own obsessions

Czech “civilisation horror” Domestique in the making
On the set of Domestique (© ShorePoints)

Emerging Czech director Adam Sedlák received audience acclaim for the webseries The Term, which took place solely on the desktops of the two protagonists and was hailed as a probe of a whole generation. In 2015, Sedlák won the top honour at Film Foundation RWE for the script for Domestique [+see also:
film review
interview: Adam Sedlák
film profile
, his first feature-length directorial effort, which is heading to the editing room after principal photography wrapped at the end of October.

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The story revolves around professional cyclist Roman (Jiří Konvalinka) and his wife, Šarlota (Tereza Hofová). While Roman has set his sights on success at the cycling track, his wife longs for a child. The pressure within the team drives Roman to the very edge of his physical limits and sanity, as he pitches an oxygen tent in his bedroom and even contemplates doping while his wife seeks various ways and rituals to get pregnant. They both get caught in a spiral of their own obsessions, and while Šarlota starts to live in her own world, Roman discovers the dark side of his personality.

The director has revealed that Domestique is not entirely a sports drama, but only starts off as one; it is an indictment of a system, and the film, a chamber drama, has been labelled as a “civilisation horror”, in the same vein as Roman Polanski’s The Tenant and Rosemary’s Baby. Young production company ShorePoints, which was behind The Term and was founded by Jakub Jíra in 2015, is producing the project. Producer Jíra revealed to Cineuropa that the domestic theatrical release, to be handled by CinemArt, is scheduled for autumn 2018. “In the meantime, we would like to introduce the film as a work in progress at festivals and release the movie into the world of festivals at home and abroad,” says Jíra, adding that the final cut is expected to be ready in April 2018. 

Besides Jíra from ShorePoints, Czech TelevisionUPP and Soundsquare are co-producing on the Czech side, with Ivan Ostrochovský of Punkchart Film on board for Slovakia. The project has received support from the Czech Film Fund and the Slovak Audiovisual Fund. No sales agent is currently attached to the film; however, the producer confirmed to Cineuropa, “We definitely want to start a collaboration [with a sales agent] as soon as possible. I am convinced that the film will communicate with the international audience and that it can match contemporary European production on all levels.”

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