Why Not pin their hopes on Slama
by Fabien Lemercier
Well prepared in the run-up to the Cannes Film Festival (May 14-25) – with impressive titles such as Arnaud Desplechin’s Un conte de Noël (“A Christmas Tale”, see news), Claire Denis’ White Material (see news) and Bruno Podalydès’ Bancs publics (Versailles Rive droite) (“Public Stands, Versailles Right Bank”) – French company Why Not Productions are also hoping for success with Czech director Bohdan Slama’s Country Teacher, being sold internationally by Wild Bunch.
Country Teacher closes a trilogy about the search for love that began with The Wild Bees (Tiger Award at Rotterdam 2002) and Something Like Happiness [+see also:
interview: Bohdan Slama
interview: Pavel Strnad
film profile] (Best Film and Best Actress at San Sebastian Film Festival 2005 – see Focus).
The film’s protagonist settles into life in the countryside as a primary school teacher, having previously worked as a biology teacher in a large high school in Prague.
The man (played by Czech star Pavel Liska) gradually wins the confidence of the local people despite his unorthodox teaching methods and his mysterious past. He strikes up a friendship with an older woman farmer (Zuzana Bydzovska), mother of a difficult teenage son (Ladislav Sediyi) for whom the school teacher harbours an impossible love.
But the sudden arrival of the teacher’s former lover (Marek Daniel) – who has come to rekindle their relationship – leads to a complicated situation full of moral taboos and amorous rivalries. The film written by Slama is in the style of classic tragedy and is set in an apt location.
Produced by Pavel Strnad and Petr Oukropec for the Czech company Negativ with an investment of 50%, Country Teacher is co-produced by German company Pallas Films (40% investment) and Why Not Productions (10% investment).
Presented at Cinemart at Rotterdam in 2007, the project received €300,000 in financial support from the Eurimages fund.
Country Teacher is set to hit Czech screens in the autumn, after a likely premiere at a major festival.
(Translated from French)
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