Czech director Jiří Mádl revives the Warsaw Pact invasion in his latest work Waves
- The director has wrapped shooting on the film, which will seamlessly weave together archival and new footage, featuring previously unseen authentic scenes from August 1968
Czech actor-turned-director Jiří Mádl has wrapped shooting on his third fiction feature, Waves, which centres on the turbulent period of the Warsaw Pact invasion, a seminal moment in modern Czechoslovak history. The period drama is inspired by real-life correspondents from the Czechoslovak Radio International Bureau during the late 1960s. The film, set against the tumultuous backdrop of the Prague Spring and the 1968 invasion, tells the story of two brothers navigating the challenges of the period. The protagonists are Tomáš and his younger sibling, who find themselves in the midst of the 1968 May Day Parade outside the Czech Radio building, where the film crew has been shooting some scenes. The foreign radio department was known for independent news reporting despite the prevalent censorship. However, the blossoming of the communist regime will soon be abruptly halted by the Warsaw Pact tanks.
The inspiration for Mádl's filmmaking approach was the Academy Award-winning film Argo, lauded for its dynamic narrative and visual execution. Additionally, the journalistic community and the sense of presence within the newsroom depicted in Good Night, and Good Luck also informed the overall ambience of Waves. In terms of production design and costumes, Mádl sought to create a similar temporal feel to Argo, with period-appropriate attire, objects and colours. In collaboration with Slovak cinematographer Martin Žiaran (The Auschwitz Report [+see also:
interview: Peter Bebjak
film profile]), the team aimed to present the era without becoming visually overbearing, an approach seen in films such as Barbara [+see also:
interview: Christian Petzold
film profile] and The Lives of Others [+see also:
interview: Florian Henckel von Donners…
interview: Ulrich Muehe
The director has carried out extensive research into the events of 1967 and 1968, as well as radio broadcasting in general. Numerous meetings with key figures such as Věra Šťovíčková, Jan Petránek, Luboš Dobrovský and Vlado Príkazský, among others, have further shaped the narrative of the film. On the production side, the picture’s Slovakian producer, Wanda Adamík Hrycová of Wandal Production (The Slavs [+see also:
interview: Wanda Adamík Hrycová
series profile], see the news), applauded the movie's innovative filming technique, which combines archival footage (including some as-yet-unseen authentic footage from August 1968, which will be colourised using artificial intelligence) with new scenes involving actors, which are connected to the archival material.
An array of talents has worked on the script, including renowned Czech writer Miloň Čepelka, British producer and BAFTA winner Jack Sidey, and Slovak director Peter Bebjak. Slovak artists have also joined the creative team, including costume designer Katarína Štrbová Bieliková (Alma & Oskar [+see also:
film profile]), and the cast consists of Czech and Slovak thesps of the likes of Vojtěch Kotek, Táňa Pauhofová, Marika Šoposká, Stanislav Majer, Igor Bareš, Martin Hofmann and Tomáš Maštalír.
Waves is being produced by Czech outfit Dawson Films, and co-produced by Slovak company Wandal Productions, Czech Radio, Czech Television, Barrandov Studios and Radio and Television Slovakia. The Czech Film Fund and the Slovak Audiovisual Fund have both supported the project. Bontonfilm is handling the theatrical release, slated for autumn 2024.
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