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Peter Simonischek meets Oscar-winning director Jiří Menzel in The Interpreter

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- Slovakian director Martin Šulík is readying his first new film since his award-festooned effort Gypsy

Peter Simonischek meets Oscar-winning director Jiří Menzel in The Interpreter
Jiří Menzel (left) and Peter Simonischek in The Interpreter

Austrian actor Peter Simonischek, who was named European Actor 2016 by the European Film Academy for his portrayal of the eccentric Winfried Conradi in Maren Ade’s internationally acclaimed Toni Erdmann [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
Q&A: Maren Ade
film profile
]
, now stars opposite Oscar-winning Czech director Jiří Menzel in the upcoming film by Slovakian director Martin ŠulíkThe Interpreter marks Šulík’s first feature since his award-festooned drama Gypsy [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
, released in 2011. Šulík aims to tackle the topic of understanding one’s own life while simultaneously addressing the theme of Central European fascism.

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In the movie, two octogenarians face up to their past. The parents of Slovakian Jew Ali (Menzel) were killed by an Austrian SS officer, while former teacher Georg (Simonischek) struggles with alcohol problems and his father’s past. After Ali learns about the fate of his parents, he sets out to find the killer, only to find his son. This unlikely encounter piques Georg’s interest in finding out who his father really was.

Co-written by Šulík and Marek Leščák, who co-penned other successful domestic titles, such as Little Harbour [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Iveta Grófová
film profile
]
Koza [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Ivan Ostrochovský
film profile
]
Miracle [+see also:
film review
trailer
festival scope
film profile
]
 and Made in Ash [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Iveta Grófóva
interview: Jiří Konečný
festival scope
film profile
]
, the story uncovers the dark past and the shadow it casts upon the present. “Neither of the two characters has found his inner peace; unsaid (or unknown) history has an effect on their lives. Their joint journey across Slovakia gives them the chance to achieve a certain balance, and confront their own experiences and moral stance. By understanding the life of the other, they begin to comprehend their own decisions and perspective. At the end of the journey, they see their existence from a new point of view, and this different experience helps them to better understand the world around them,” explain the writers.

Šulík’s independent company Titanic is staging the project, which is billed as a road movie and has an expected budget of €1.5 million, and Rudolf Biermann, the producer of A Prominent Patient [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, is co-producing for Czech outfit IN Film Praha. Since the majority of the dialogue is in German, Austrian company coop99 has also boarded the project as a co-producer, along with the Slovak and Czech public broadcasters. The scheduled 36 days of shooting are taking place between March and May 2017, while the final cut should be ready by December 2017. The domestic premiere is planned for spring 2018.

The Slovak Audiovisual Fund and the Czech State Cinematography Fund supported the project. Distributor Garfield Film will handle the release in Slovakia (the firm previously distributed Šulík’s Gypsy), while Bioscop is due to distribute the movie in the Czech Republic. A possible release has also been negotiated with European channel ARTE.

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