Czech psychological chamber drama The Absence of Closeness in production
by Martin Kudláč
- The debut feature by emerging Czech director Josef Tuka tackles the relationships between parents and children
Young Czech production outfit Cinema Belongs To Us, founded by filmmaker Asmara Beraki, who is currently readying her own feature-length debut being produced by the outfit (read the news), has another feature project under way. The Absence of Closeness is a low-budget outing by recent FAMU graduate Josef Tuka, who studied under the tutelage of Věra Chytilová. Principal photography started at the beginning of August and will unfold at several locations in the Czech Republic.
Described as “a fragile psychological drama”, The Absence of Closeness follows the single mother of a three-month-old infant, amid a personal crisis. She feels like she loves her dog more than she loves her daughter, in addition to enduring a troubled relationship with her own mother. She soon realises that the problem lies in the absence of motherly closeness. When she finds her father’s diaries, mapping out her own early childhood, she decides to use them as a kind of therapy. Jana Plodková stars as the lead character, and it seems that the director envisaged her in the role ever since the project’s inception, thanks to what he describes as her “contradiction” – as she has the face of a model while being able to draw on deep emotion. “I believe the subject matter of the film is still very topical and will always be so,” says Plodková. “Relationships between children and parents are crucial for fully functioning interpersonal relationships – and, figuratively, also for the functioning of the world.”
Tuka did not succeed in applying for support from the State Cinematography Fund and decided to stage the project under low-budget conditions. “We found ourselves in a situation where there was nothing else to wait for. After several years of working on the screenplay, screenwriter Milena Jelinek and I prepared a couple of versions of the script. I was meeting with actors to rehearse, and we found the locations to shoot at. I did not want to waste my energy or my colleagues’ energy; that’s why I decided to put my private finances into the project and start shooting in collaboration with producer Asmara Beraki,” reveals the director. The premiere of the film is expected in summer 2017.