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PRODUCTION Czech Republic / Germany

Shooting for Štepán Altrichter’s National Street about to wrap


- The working-class social drama disguised as a dark comedy is the sophomore feature by the rising Czech talent

Shooting for Štepán Altrichter’s National Street about to wrap
Director Štěpán Altrichter (left) and lead actor Hynek Čermák on the set of National Street (© Negativ Film Production)

Emerging Czech talent Štepán Altrichter will wrap principal photography on his second feature, National Street, at the end of November. Altrichter debuted with Schmitke [+see also:
film review
film profile
, which toured the international circuit successfully and won two Czech Film Academy Awards (see the news). The script is based on the popular domestic novel of the same name by Jaroslav Rudiš (his most-translated book to date), who co-wrote the script with the director.

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The story follows Vandam, a disenfranchised working-class protagonist prone to solving problems through fighting, as he tries to save his favourite pub, the North Star. National Street, a social drama disguised as a dark comedy, addresses highly topical, thorny issues that are shaking up today’s society, including the anxiety of the “angry white male”, which is one reason why the book earned itself the moniker of the “Czech Fight Club”. It also maps out from a broader perspective how society has changed 30 years since the Velvet Revolution. “We strive to understand how people who are looked down on by the majority of society actually feel, and what the reasons are behind their desperate actions. We don't want to judge them, but rather show where this behaviour comes from,” says Czech producer Pavel Strnad, of Negativ Film Production.

Humour plays a crucial role in dealing with the subject matter, while Strnad adds, “If Schmitke had a Lynchian atmosphere, National Street will have something approaching Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting” in terms of its storytelling and aesthetics. Romanian cinematographer Cristian Pirjol is back on lensing duty after initially working on Altrichter’s debut. The Czech producer expects the final cut to be ready by May 2019, while the domestic premiere is set for September 2019.

National Street is being produced by Negativ (Czech Republic) and 42film (Germany), and co-produced by Czech Television and ZDF – Das Kleine Fernsehspiel/Arte. It is being shot entirely in Prague. The project was supported by the Czech Film Fund, Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung and Eurimages. National Street does not yet have a sales agent attached.

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