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PRODUCTION / FUNDING Slovakia / Czech Republic

Servants director Ivan Ostrochovský revisits communist Czechoslovakia in follow-up drama The Spring

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- The period story from the award-winning Slovak director touches upon the subject of involuntary Roma sterilisations in 1980s Czechoslovakia

Servants director Ivan Ostrochovský revisits communist Czechoslovakia in follow-up drama The Spring
Anna Geislerová in The Spring (© Punkchart Films)

Slovak producer and filmmaker Ivan Ostrochovský, who co-wrote and produced 107 Mothers [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Peter Kerekes
film profile
]
, which won the Award for Best Screenplay in the Orizzonti competition at the Venice Film Festival last year, is readying his third fiction film, The Spring. Ostrochovský made the leap from documentary filmmaking to fiction movies with the critically acclaimed and award-winning docufiction Koza [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Ivan Ostrochovský
film profile
]
, about a washed-up boxer, and is now continuing to focus on fiction projects. In his new effort, the director will remain in 1980s Czechoslovakia, as he did in his previous work Servants [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Ivan Ostrochovský
film profile
]
, in which he investigated the Church’s collaboration with the communist regime, although this time, he will switch styles and subject matter.

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Similarly to Servants, The Spring is inspired by true events, following a conflict between the state and its citizens, and the authorities’ interference in the lives and freedoms of the people. Ostrochovský, who co-wrote the script with his long-term collaborator Marek Leščák, will focus on the topic of women’s reproductive rights and how the communist regime attempted to control them, thus finding another avenue through which to intervene in the daily life of ordinary people. The director switches the male-dominated corridors of the monastery in Servants for an OB-GYN department in a hospital, where gynaecologist Ingrid and nurse Soňa, who come from different backgrounds, bond over the institutionalised medical treatment of women in the local Roma community. Anna Geislerová, who recently performed as Václav Havel’s first wife in the biopic drama Havel [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, will star in the leading role as Ingrid. Romanian actor Vlad Ivanov has also joined the cast, and the director plans to continue working with non-professional actors as well.

Unlike Servants, The Spring will reflect the sentimental optimism with which many Slovaks look back on the era of Socialism, and will employ the visuals to induce the mood in an almost romantic or lyrical way. “For this, an anamorphic ratio has been chosen, to be combined with a pastel-coloured tonality, creating a seemingly dreamlike aesthetic that will be in stark contrast with the horrid actions portrayed in the film,” reveals the director. Servants DoP Juraj Chlpík, who is also lensing the long-awaited follow-up project from the I, Olga Hepnarova [+see also:
film review
trailer
making of
interview: Tomáš Weinreb, Petr Kazda
film profile
]
team, Nobody Likes Me (see the news), will be behind the camera.

One of the film’s producers, Katarína Tomková, confirmed to Cineuropa that the project is currently at the financing stage, and preparations for a summer/autumn 2022 shoot are under way. The post-production is planned to unfold between autumn and winter 2023, with the world premiere expected in late 2023 or early 2024. The producers will be presenting the project at the upcoming Berlinale Co-Production Market (12-16 February), and Tomková told Cineuropa that they are currently looking for co-producers, financiers, sales companies, TV and pre-sales partners.

The Spring is being produced by Ivan Ostrochovský, Albert Malinovský and Katarína Tomková, of Slovak production outfit Punkchart Films, and co-produced by Pavel Strnad and Petr Oukropec, for Czech company Negativ (which co-produced Servants), in addition to Radio and Television Slovakia and Czech Television. The Slovak Audiovisual Fund and the Czech Film Fund have supported the project.

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