Lost in Munich picked as the Czech Oscars candidate
by Martin Kudláč
- The Czech Republic has chosen Petr Zelenka’s unconventional and original film for the Oscars race
The Czech Film and Television Academy had to mull over 49 fiction, documentary and animated features before selecting one title that would represent the country across the Atlantic. Although the debut by Petr Kazda and Tomáš Weinreb, I, Olga Hepnarová [+see also:
interview: Tomáš Weinreb, Petr Kazda
film profile], had a tremendous run on the festival circuit, reaping awards and critical acclaim, and ultimately landing a recommendation for a nomination for the European Film Awards, the Academy settled on Petr Zelenka’s Lost in Munich [+see also:
interview: Petr Zelenka
film profile] as the country’s entry for the 89th Academy Awards, in the Best Foreign-language Film category.
Zelenka’s film ended up being among the titles recommended for the nomination, alongside I, Olga Hepnarová, and it also netted three trophies, including Best Film, at the Czech Film Critics’ Awards (read the news) and two prizes at the annual Czech Lion ceremony (out of 15 nominations – read the news). Unlike Kazda and Weinreb’s period biopic, which echoes current topics and conveys universal messages, Lost in Munich deals with a theme that is firmly anchored in Czech history.
In a rather complicated plot, Zelenka fuses several layers, skilfully combining mystification and metatextuality. The film starts with the 90-year-old parrot of politician Edouard Daladier squawking controversial revelations attributed to Daladier himself, including “Fuhrer is super”, and dating back to the times of the Munich Agreement and Nazi Germany’s annexation of portions of Czechoslovakia (also known as the Munich Betrayal), before ending in a witty commentary on the hardships of filmmaking in an absurdly comical turn of events. The Academy called Lost in Munich “novel, funny and smart” and noted that it garnered positive reactions from the international audience. This is not the first time that an oeuvre by Zelenka has been nominated for the Oscars race, as his innovative adaptation of Dostoyevsky’s The Karamazov Brothers [+see also:
film profile] was picked as the country’s candidate for the 81st edition of the Academy Awards.
Other films that scored highly and could be considered runners-up were Family Film [+see also:
interview: Olmo Omerzu
film profile] by young talent Olmo Omerzu, a fresh spin on a family drama; the aforementioned I, Olga Hepnarová; The Teacher [+see also:
interview: Jan Hřebejk
film profile], a dramedy by Jan Hřebejk; and Petr Václav’s harrowing parable We Are Never Alone [+see also:
interview: Petr Vaclav