Agniezska Holland moves into post-production with her latest project
by Martin Kudláč
- The director has wrapped principal photography on Game Count
After preparing a miniseries remake of Roman Polanski’s 1968 adaptation of Rosemary’s Baby on the other side of the Atlantic, veteran Polish-born and Oscar-nominated director Agnieszka Holland has returned to the Polish-Czech border to shoot her latest feature project. This Polish-German-Swedish-Czech-Slovakian co-production is being produced on the Czech side by nutprodukce, which developed and staged Holland’s previous Czech project, the award-winning miniseries Burning Bush [+see also:
film profile] (read the news), which was deemed ineligible for an Oscar nomination (read the news).
Information about the development of Drive Your Plough Over the Bones of the Dead, an adaptation of the book by Polish novelist Olga Tokarczuk, surfaced in 2014 (read the news). The film version, which initially took its name from a quote by William Blake (who the story’s eccentric protagonist is an avid reader of), has been renamed to the international title Game Count (Polish title Pokot). Holland shot it in three stages, and it was lensed by her long-time collaborator Jolanta Dylewska; it wrapped principal photography just recently.
The story revolves around Janina Duszejko, a retired engineer and “an ex-hippy, a vegetarian and an intelligent observer of the world, which she tries to understand and respond to in her own language, which is not always easily understandable by everyone else”. She lives in a small town on the Czech-Polish border, where a series of mysterious murders take place seemingly without any motive or logic. Based on the novel, the script was adapted for the big screen by Holland and the author herself. Agnieszka Mandat portrays the lead character, with the rest of the cast consisting of Wiktor Zborowski, Borys Szyc, Andrzej Grabowski, Tomasz Kot, Katarzyna Herman, and Czech actor and theatre director Miroslav Krobot.
“The post-production will be ready by the end of the year, with the premiere scheduled for the beginning of 2017,” Kateřina Šafaříková, of nutprodukce, confirmed. The film is billed as a morality thriller spiced up with mystery and dark-comedy elements, and revolving around the central topic of “social schizophrenia”. Šafaříková provided a producer’s statement that read: “The best directors do not stand in one place and do not repeat proven methods, but constantly seek and experiment. They try to move with the times, to be contemporary and tell stories inventively and originally. Those are the qualities we appreciate in Holland, and this is why we as producers believed in her abilities to transform the script of Burning Bush into a unique and powerful film. And the desire to go further, to try new genres, and experiment with form and substance is the key impetus for her new project… [The film] closely and suggestively describes how difficult it is to overcome the attitudes and opinions of majority society in today’s democratic, mid-European society.”
Game Count is being produced by Studio Filmowe TOR (Poland), Heimatfilm (Germany), nutprodukce and its Slovakian branch (nutprodukcia), and Chimney (Sweden). The project was supported by Eurimages, the Czech State Cinematography Fund, the Slovak Audiovisual Fund, the Swedish Film Institute and the Polish Film Institute. Beta Film is handling the rights.