email print share on Facebook share on Twitter share on LinkedIn share on reddit pin on Pinterest

PRODUCTION / FUNDING Czech Republic

Jiří Havelka shooting Gardener’s Year

by 

- The emerging Czech filmmaker is making another tragicomedy with an inclination towards the absurd, inspired by a real-life incident

Jiří Havelka shooting Gardener’s Year
Oldřich Kaiser and Dáša Vokatá in Gardener's Year (© Donart)

Emerging Czech filmmaker and theatre director Jiří Havelka is readying his third feature-length project under the working title Gardener’s Year. Havelka is preparing the project alongside his work in the theatre and on screen as an actor, having just starred in the upcoming film written by Alice Nellis and directed by Tomáš Mašín, The Exhale, about aphasia. The director is following in the footsteps of his previous titles, Owners [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
and Emergency Situation, both tragicomedies inspired by real events.

(The article continues below - Commercial information)
my-sextortion-diary_Seattle_ringo

Gardener’s Year is inspired by a true conflict between a Czech gardener and the Russian owner of a château who attempted to gain possession of the gardener’s premises by any means necessary. Havelka penned the script for this story about the escalating conflict between the gardener and his new neighbour. The producers have said that they expect the audience of Havelka’s most critically successful film, Owners, to be the primary target of his latest oeuvre.

The synopsis states that as the stakes in the conflict rise, “the gardener, however, does not intend to give up; he is determined to fight for his home. The police refuse to get involved, citing a lack of evidence, and so the local mayor tries to find a lawful way to assist the gardener. Meanwhile, investigative journalists do more harm than good. The days go by, the castle is ostentatiously renovated, investments in the village increase rapidly, and previously friendly neighbours with new interests start to avoid the gardener and reconsider their allegiances.”

The main role of the gardener is played by veteran Czech actor Oldřich Kaiser (recently seen as a supporting actor in Martin Šulík’s The Man With Hare Ears [+see also:
trailer
interview: Martin Šulík
film profile
]
), and his real-life partner, singer Dáša Vokatá, is also among the cast. Starring opposite Kaiser is Michal Isteník (Somewhere Over the Chemtrails [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Adam Koloman Rybanský
film profile
]
) as the aggressive château owner. The cast further includes Alena Mihulová (Victim [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Michal Blaško
film profile
]
), Štěpán Kozub (Shoky & Morthy: The Last Big Thing) and Jiří Vyorálek (The Pack [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
).

As the title suggests, the story unfolds over a whole year, with nature, represented by the changing seasons, playing a crucial part. Principal photography is unfolding chronologically, and shooting is set to take place during each of the four seasons. The shoot is expected to wrap in March 2023, while the premiere is preliminarily set for October next year.

The main protagonist goes through the conflict wordlessly. Oldřich Kaiser’s character does not have any lines, so the majority of the performance is based on facial expressions, gestures and body language. “The script is inspired by the case of a similar gardener whose life was complicated significantly by a Russian businessman. But there were other stories attached to the main story, so together, they form a kind of blueprint for our film. The tale is broken down into 12 months because, at the same time, we are playing with a reference to Karel Čapek’s The Gardener’s Year. We also observe nature, which grows a little bit bigger every month. It’s actually nature’s story; the people are kind of secondary,” the director told the daily Denik.

Gardener’s Year is being produced by Czech outfit Donart Production and co-produced by Czech Television.

(The article continues below - Commercial information)

Did you enjoy reading this article? Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive more stories like this directly in your inbox.

Privacy Policy