Vít Klusák making the tragicomic documentary A Big Nothing
- The latest, almost-completed film from one half of the team behind Caught in the Net, alongside Marika Pecháčková, chronicles the many oddities of the pandemic era
The Czech documentary Caught in the Net [+see also:
film profile], focusing on online predators, became the unexpected hit of pandemic-era cinema in its home country (see the news). Now, one half of its directorial duo, Vít Klusák, has given in to his documentary instincts and started mapping the state of affairs during the various COVID-19 lockdowns.
“The impulse to make a film about the pandemic came at an absurd moment, when the government of the Czech Republic was calling for a nation of DIYers in the face of a fatal shortage of masks. They ordered the opening of haberdasheries, and sewing machines in households went into overdrive. This amused us and got us out of our seats. After hesitating for a while about whether to risk our health and that of our loved ones, we decided to start working on a film about how the Czechs were coping with that period of unexpected challenges,” says Klusák about the film’s origins. He is co-directing the doc with his partner Marika Pecháčková, who collaborated on the book written to accompany Caught in the Net.
The footage filmed has been assembled into a feature-length tragicomic documentary called A Big Nothing. A small film crew surveyed the pandemic period, capturing crucial moments and shifts in society and the government. “Due to the length of the filming process, it was also possible to reflect on the social dimension of the pandemic and human behaviour at a time of crisis. If at the beginning of 2020, solidarity and mutual assistance were felt everywhere, by the end of 2021, society was already divided into two irreconcilable camps. People labelled, pointed at and attacked each other. Even through this, the film becomes a reflection of the times and the entire pandemic,” note the filmmakers. “It was one of the most challenging shoots. We were all much happier when we saw at the test screenings how strongly the film resonates with people. Laughter replaces crying, and then anger, but the need to think about this strange, painful and magical time prevails over all of that,” adds Pecháčková.
A Big Nothing is being staged by production house Hypermarket Film, whose founders, producers and directors Filip Remunda and Vít Klusák, spearheaded their own brand of performative documentary, the so-called prankumentary, initiated by Czech Dream. Their filmmaking has evolved into the unmistakable signature of metadocumentary and “documockumentary”, most recently represented by Klusák’s Caught in the Net and Remunda’s Once Upon a Time in Poland [+see also:
film profile]. Klusák and Pecháčková remain faithful to this format and style as they document the many absurdities of human behaviour under the pandemic lockdowns – from the perspective of an opera singer working as a cashier in a grocer’s shop or police scolding people for not wearing facemasks on a nudist beach. The finishing touches are being put to the film, which has wrapped a successful crowdfunding campaign. Avant-premieres are planned for early January, with the movie slated to go into theatrical distribution in spring 2023.
You can watch the trailer for A Big Nothing below:
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