Mariana Čengel Solčanská readying The Chambermaid
- The upcoming movie by the Slovakian filmmaker is a lesbian historical drama and an adaptation of the book of the same name by Hana Lasicová
Slovakian filmmaker Mariana Čengel Solčanská, whose latest effort as a co-director, Scumbag [+see also:
film profile] (see the news), managed to achieve the best opening weekend for a local film in national cinemas in the last 20 years a few months ago (see the news), is getting ready to shoot her next project. After two political thrillers (Scumbag and Kidnapping [+see also:
film profile]) and the fairy tale Láska na vlásku [+see also:
film profile], she is returning to the historical drama genre that she tackled in Flying Cyprian back in 2010. The upcoming The Chambermaid will be an adaptation of the book of the same name by Slovakian writer Hana Lasicová, who co-penned the script with the director.
Billed as a female-centred story, the film follows the protagonist, poor 15-year-old Anne, who travels from a small Slovakian town to Vienna to work as a maid in a wealthy family. There, she meets Theresa, the daughter of the Austrian family, who is the same age but enjoys a privileged life. Despite the social gap between them, they find their way to each other. “They are united by a fear of men, fear of social conventions, fear that they are not independent, that others are deciding for them, that they can't choose anything that really matters in their life. Neither a husband nor a political party nor a faith – nor their own destiny,” states Solčanská in the director’s notes.
The story is set in the times of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and will unfold during World War I, also portraying the dissolution of the monarchy and the emergence of Czechoslovakia. “We know that The Chambermaid can be labelled easily. It's a feminist film that's just being made. It is a film about homosexual issues. It is a film mapping out the collapse of the monarchy and the origin of Czechoslovakia. It is a social excursion into the history of our society. It is an effort to remove the taboo surrounding the eroticism of women,” says the director.
Principal photography is set to take place from mid-September until mid-November, with the Czech-Slovak-Hungarian film crew spending the majority of the shoot on the premises of the Slatiňany Castle in the Czech Republic. However, Čengel Solčanská already has another shoot lined up before the one for The Chambermaid: the fairy tale The Enchanted Cave is a Slovak-Czech-Slovenian co-production that she wrote and is set to direct, and the majority of it is expected to be shot during summer this year.
Czech actress Aňa Geislerová, who stars as Václav Havel’s first wife, Olga, in Slávek Horák’s upcoming drama Havel [+see also:
film profile], and Slovakian thesps Vica Kerekes and Zuzana Mauréry will star in The Chambermaid, while less familiar actresses are supposed to be cast in the leading roles, according to the producers from Slovakian production company Bright Sight Pictures, Radka Babincová and Simona Móciková. The Chambermaid is their debut production. The film’s domestic theatrical release is preliminarily set for autumn 2021, while the producers are also eyeing festivals.
The Chambermaid is being produced by Slovakian outfit Bright Sight Pictures, and co-produced by Slovakian company Trigon, Radio and Television Slovakia and Czech production firm CINEART TV Prague. The Slovak Audiovisual Fund and the Czech Film Fund have both supported the film. The expected budget is €1,460,000, and ITAFILM is slated to handle the domestic theatrical release.
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