Family and environmental conflict dominate Bohdan Sláma’s upcoming feature Drought
- The Czech filmmaker is currently shooting his latest feature-length drama, which is being likened to his most theatrically successful film, Something Like Happiness
Veteran Czech filmmaker Bohdan Sláma is changing gear for his new feature-length project. After his previous black-and-white World War II drama Shadow Country [+see also:
film profile], a film that reaped awards at several domestic ceremonies, such as that of the Czech film critics (see the news) and the Czech Lions (see the news), the director is now shooting a contemporary drama called Drought, which he also wrote. The environmentally themed movie revolves around a conflict between two neighbouring farming families dominated by their fathers.
A former IT manager, portrayed by Martin Pechlát, has started an eco-farm, where his wife (Magdaléna Borová) and daughter (Dorota Šlajerová) work while leading an off-the-grid lifestyle totally in harmony with nature. Their farm is surrounded by fields of monocultures in the care of the owner of an agronomy company (Marek Daniel), who is under pressure from his own father (Boleslav Polívka) and pollutes the environment. The youngest man in that family (Tomáš Sean Pšenička), who is supposed to take over the agronomic family business, has a different opinion on farming, however: he prefers the eco-farming of his neighbour, whose daughter he is in love with.
“The question of accepting responsibility for the environment is connected with the topic of accepting responsibility for interpersonal relationships. The destruction of the environment brings the destruction of human relations, and vice versa. The environment becomes another character in the story not only because everything takes place in it, but also because of what happens to it. The state of drought […] puts the characters’ attitudes to life before the basic question of being and non-being,” explains the director. “While writing the script, I was afraid that the result of my work would be some kind of environmental agitation. I want to understand both sides of the conflict as much as possible; I want to explore the truth and not interpret the world according to some ideology; I want the film to ask questions with great emotional urgency; and I want Drought to lead to the hope that I see in the existence of love and the constant nurturing of it,” adds Sláma.
Principal photography on Drought started in late September and will unfold in the Czech Republic and Berlin. Marek Diviš, who also lensed Sláma’s previous efforts, is the film’s DoP. They are shooting on colour 35 mm film stock, in widescreen format. According to Sláma’s long-standing producers, Pavel Strnad and Peter Oukropec from Negativ, Drought could resemble the director’s theatrically most successful film, Something Like Happiness [+see also:
interview: Bohdan Slama
interview: Pavel Strnad
film profile], in its depiction of family relationships and two young people’s shot at love. Drought is billed as being a drama verging on black comedy.
Drought is being produced by Czech outfit Negativ, and co-produced by Slovak company Artileria and Germany’s 42film GmbH as well as Czech Television. The Czech Film Fund, MDM Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung, the Slovak Audiovisual Fund and the South Moravian Film Fund have supported the project. The domestic theatrical release is set for autumn 2023, with Bontonfilm handling distribution in the Czech Republic and the Association of Slovak Film Clubs releasing the film in Slovakia. Negotiations are under way to get an international sales agent on board.
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