Three Czech films and one project on their way to Berlin
by Martin Kudláč
- Czech cinema will be represented at the Berlinale in the Panorama, Forum and Generation 14+ sections
Three Czech movies have been chosen to be unveiled in Berlin during the upcoming 66th edition of the Berlinale. The Panorama section, whose mission is to “build bridges” between artistic visions and commercial interests, thus being tailored to film buyers, will welcome a project co-produced by the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and France: I, Olga Hepnarová [+see also:
interview: Tomáš Weinreb, Petr Kazda
film profile]. Directorial duo Tomáš Weinreb and Petr Kazda make their debut by tackling the story of the last woman to be executed in Czechoslovakia in the 1970s. The filmmakers promise to “delve into Olga’s psyche and witness the worsening of her loneliness and alienation as we reconstruct the events that led up to her disastrous actions” – she killed eight people as an act of revenge carried out on society. The story will revolve around “her paranoid self-examination and inability to connect with other people”, which eventually “drove her over the edge of humanity when she was only 22 years old”. I, Olga Hepnarová was produced by Black Balance, an outfit founded by Weinreb and Kazda to make “auteur cinema with a minimum of compromises”.
Petr Václav, the director of The Way Out [+see also:
interview: Petr Václav
film profile], which was premiered on the Croisette, has a place in the Forum section, dubbed the “most daring” sidebar, with his latest, eagerly awaited effort, We Are Never Alone [+see also:
interview: Petr Vaclav
film profile] (read the news), starring Karel Roden and the lead actress from his previous film, newcomer Klaudia Dudová. A variety of characters engage with each other on screen in this story resembling a dramedy with a social subtext. “This film is about a fight amidst the darkness that is reappearing in Europe,” explains the director. “This is personified in adults – it is about the desire for freedom and liberty that their children carry within them.” Václav’s new film was produced by Jan Macola, of Mimesis Film, who also produced The Way Out and is working on the filmmaker’s projects Skokan (French title: Ça ira mieux là-bas), Confession of the Vanished [+see also:
film profile] and Il Boemo (read the news). We Are Never Alone was co-produced by French outfit Cinéma Defacto, Czech Television and i/o post.
Producer Petr Oukropec, who is also a co-founder of production company Negativ, has finished his sophomore feature, In Your Dreams! [+see also:
film profile], which has been picked for the Generation 14+ competition section. Negativ is producing on the Czech side, while Arina is involved for Slovakia, along with a Bulgarian co-production by Chouchkov Brothers. Slated as a coming-of-age film, In Your Dreams! is also supposed to incorporate the genres of fantasy and romance. The main character, 16-year-old Laura, lives a double life – one in her real life, where she falls in love for the first time, and the other in her fantasy world. At some point, she has to choose just one. “Children’s and family films had a grand tradition in our cinema, which was interrupted for various reasons. I want to continue to produce films for children and search for new, contemporary stories and modes of storytelling,” says Oukropec. In Your Dreams! will also be presented at the film market.
Furthermore, Oukropec is also visiting Berlin as a producer, bringing with him the feature debut by emerging filmmaker Michal Hogenauer, Outside, to the 13th edition of the Berlinale Co-Production Market, where he will try to get it hooked up with an international co-production partner. The director’s student film Tambylles was screened at Cannes’ Cinéfondation in 2012. According to Hogenauer, Outside is “a story about a young girl who starts to gradually and unconsciously lose herself through systematic outer manipulation”, and he cites the “educational principles” of religious sects as an inspiration. His film was chosen from among 301 submissions as a promising project for the official selection.