The Czech Republic pins its hopes on Fair Play for the Academy Awards
by Martin Kudláč
- Andrea Sedláčková’s film has become the Czech entry in the Oscars race
The Czech Film and Television Academy has chosen its contender for the Best Foreign-language Film at the 87th Academy Awards, picking Andrea Sedláčková’s Fair Play [+see also:
film profile] out of 47 eligible titles. In light of the previous choices, the selection of Fair Play hardly comes as a surprise. The choice for this year, Burning Bush [+see also:
film profile] (which had to be replaced by Jirì Menzel’s The Don Juans [+see also:
film profile], as it was screened as a miniseries before its theatrical run), and In the Shadow [+see also:
film profile] from 2013 share the theme of the search for justice during the communist era and the efforts of moral heroes against all odds.
Young, aspiring athlete Anna (played by rising Slovak star Judit Bárdos) is training for a qualification that could enable her to be accepted for the Olympic Games in Los Angeles. She trains every day under the watchful eye of her trainer (Slovak actor Roman Luknár) until the upper echelons of the state spot her talent and decide to fast-track her career: thus, Anna becomes part of a state-run project for research into the use of illegal anabolic steroids. She soon realises what is happening as a number of side effects start to have a negative impact on her health. Her moral choice is to attempt to earn her Olympic medal without using a forbidden substance, a decision that her superiors disagree with, leaving Anna’s career at risk while her mother (Aňa Geislerová), who has strong ties with dissidents, struggles to provide a better life for her daughter.
Petr Václav’s docudrama The Way Out [+see also:
interview: Petr Václav
film profile] also had strong potential and a good chance to be picked, after having premiered in the Cannes ACID sidebar, but it was eventually a runner-up. The storyline of a downward spiral of escalating debts and ever-vanishing chances of employment that threaten the basic living standards of a young Roma family serves as a backdrop against which Václav scrutinises their banishment to the fringes of society owing to racial discrimination. The filmmaker plunges into the Roma community, examining a persistent and sensitive social and political issue. Nowhere in Moravia [+see also:
film profile], the feature debut by respected Czech actor and theatre director Miroslav Krobot, was also highly rated by the Czech Film and Television Academy.
Moreover, Fair Play is also being entered for selection for the European Film Awards. The European Film Academy will vote for the nominations in the categories of European Film, Director, Actor, Actress and Screenwriter in the upcoming weeks, while the identities of the nominees will be announced on 8 November during the Seville European Film Festival in Spain.
The nominations for the Oscars will be unveiled on 15 January.