Bohdan Sláma in the editing room with WWII drama Shadow Country
by Martin Kudláč
- The Czech director has finished shooting his first historical drama on celluloid
Experienced Czech filmmaker Bohdan Sláma has finished shooting the World War II drama Shadow Country, a project that has been eight years in the making. The historical drama marks a radical departure for Sláma, who has mostly made contemporary dramedies, the latest being the romantic drama Ice Mother [+see also:
film profile], which won the Best Screenplay Award at the 16th Tribeca Film Festival (see the news), was the Czech Republic’s nomination for the Best Foreign-language Film category at the 90th edition of the Academy Awards (see the news) and netted six domestic awards at the annual Czech Lions ceremony (see the news).
Shadow Country focuses on “a conflict between German fellow citizens after a war with the Czechs, who collaborated with the German regime during World War II, and on the greater need they had to take revenge after the war. It is about a small number of people, only a few of whom could be heroes,” reveals the director about the story, which is based on true events revolving around a genocide that took place in a village in the Czech-Austrian border region of Vitorazsko. Ivan Arsenjev penned the script, which is a chronicle of the village and its residents during the events of the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s.
“We are interested in how a small man would fare in the midst of these historic events that are rolling over him. The story is about characters that do not give up: despite all that is happening, they are able to preserve their humanity, and that makes them heroes. Some aspects of these situations seem to be returning again, and that has to lead us to a state of constant vigilance,” remarks the director.
Marek Diviš, who previously worked on Sláma’s previous projects Something Like Happiness [+see also:
interview: Bohdan Slama
interview: Pavel Strnad
film profile], The Country Teacher [+see also:
interview: Bohdan Slama
film profile], Four Suns and Ice Mother, lensed the World War II drama, and Sláma’s pet actress and the award-winning lead of Ice Mother, Zuzana Krónerová, returns, as does her co-star Pavel Nový. The film was shot in black and white, and on celluloid. “It will thus offer an exquisite visual experience,” adds Jindřich Motýl, a producer at Luminar Film.
Shadow Country is currently being edited, and the post-sync will be carried out in August and September. The movie was shot in the director’s hometown, with locals also appearing, and only two objects had to be built from scratch, revealed the producer. “The film focuses on the times after the year 1945, which is an unheard-of topic for the Czechs,” says Motýl, adding, “The crazy expulsion of Germans from the Czech border areas are only a backdrop for this story of evil that nobody stood up against.”
Shadow Country is being produced by Luminar Film, and co-produced by Czech Television and Slovak company Filmpark. The Czech Film Fund and the Czech Film Foundation supported the project, as did the Slovak Audiovisual Fund. The domestic theatrical distribution will be handled by Bontonfilm. The movie does not yet have a sales agent attached; however, negotiations are under way. The premiere is scheduled for 2020.
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