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Czech absurd comedy Emergency Situation in the editing room


- The sophomore project by director Jiří Havelka, who debuted with the absurdist chamber comedy Owners, centres on a runaway railcar

Czech absurd comedy Emergency Situation in the editing room
Actor Jaroslav Plesl on the set of Emergency Situation (© Jaroslav Kutheil)

Czech actor and playwright Jiří Havelka debuted as a film director with his breakthrough absurdist chamber comedy Owners [+see also:
film profile
(based on his own stage play). His first feature-length offering netted two Awards for Best Script – one at the Czech Lion ceremony (see the news) and another at the Czech Film Critics’ Awards (see the news) – and Tereza Ramba also bagged a similar double win for her performance in the flick. Besides this critical acclaim, Owners ended up being the 20th highest-grossing film at the domestic box office in 2019 (see the news) and, more surprisingly, the 14th highest-grossing film during the pandemic year of 2020 (see the news). Following this successful debut, Havelka has now wrapped shooting on his sophomore feature, Emergency Situation (working title: The Train), which is currently in the editing room.

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The helmer, who co-wrote the script with David Dvořák, is revisiting his already-proven formula from Owners in this bitter chamber tragicomedy. His sophomore feature sees a ragtag group of passengers confined in a small railcar that has accidentally driven off without a driver. The emergency situation becomes a trigger for a probe into the inter-personal and romantic relationships among the passengers on board as they try to save themselves. On Emergency Situation, the director is reuniting with several of his Owners collaborators, including producer Marek Jeníček and script editor Jaroslav Stuchlík.

Jana Plodková and Igor Chmela star as a married couple and the leading characters, alongside a supporting cast consisting of Jenovéfa Boková, Jaroslav Plesl, Alois Švehlík, Ctirad Götz, Tereza Marečková, Václav Kopta and others. “The script is well written as an absurd comedy and has subtle hints of parody. It's based on a funny event that seemed tragic, but in the end, basically, nothing bad happened at all,” said one of the leads, Igor Chmela. Havelka shot the film chronologically and in a studio using an LED wall.

Emergency Situation is being produced by Marek Jeníček, of Elekta Prague, and co-produced by Czech Television and CinemArt, which will handle the domestic theatrical release, scheduled for early February 2022. The Czech Film Fund supported the movie.

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