Adam Martinec • Director of Anatomy of a Czech Afternoon
“I look forward to the time when a live audience can see our movie"
- Adam Martinec, director of Anatomy of a Czech Afternoon, discusses with us about his short film now selected for EFP’s Future Frames
On a hot afternoon, throngs of people head to a small beach to take advantage. Everyone is enjoying their own world, including the lifeguard, when the mood is punctured by a woman desperately searching for her lost children. But this is a beach. Children get lost all the time. Don’t they?
Adam Martinec’s Anatomy of a Czech Afternoon is an example of both technical bravura and emotionally engaging filmmaking as, in weaving in and out of the points of view of numerous characters, the film examines the clash between personal and social responsibility and questions whether selfishness is an ingrained human trait or something that is learnt.
The short, which screens as part of this year’s EFP Future Frames taking placed during Karlovy Vary’s Eastern Promises, originates from the Czech Republic’s FAMU film school. Cineuropa talked to its director about what inspired the film
Cineuropa: Was there a specific incident that sparked the creation of Anatomy of a Czech Afternoon?
Adam Martinec: There was something that happened almost two years ago in the Czech Republic: two boys drowned on a crowded beach and, as there was a possible context of racism, the media covered the story in great detail. I was really terrified and angry that hundreds of people on the beach were seemingly not going to help someone because of the colour of their skin. Ultimately the only charges that were filed were against the parents of those kids. Maybe everybody did what they could - we are not able to prevent everything and tragedy is part of our world. But I am frustrated by the way that - in the Czech Republic at least – people are behaving to each other.
There are lots of extras and different points of view of different characters as they react to the inciting incident. Was it a challenge to film?
It was probably a great challenge but, from a logistical perspective, the biggest challenge that was faced was by my producer. I felt perfectly comfortable during all the shooting days, surrounded by a great crew and sets that were perfectly prepared. It would be impossible to shoot that movie just with school support, but fortunately we received funds from the Czech Film Fund and many other great partnerships of different forms, such as Panavision Prague.
Were there filmmakers that inspired you and your approach to this film? There’s a constant shift between the intimate and self-preserving and also huge important moments in people’s lives.
In this case I tried to avoid as many film references as possible, but it is true that the literature of Bohumil Hrabal [legendary Czech writer on whose book equally legendary Czech feature film Closely Observed Trains was based] widely uses this juxtaposition of something that is banal and something that might be the most important moment in a person’s life. If that is also the case in our movie, then I am honoured.
You’re taking part in Future Frames – what are you looking forward to being part of the project?
It's a great success for us to be part of Future Frames! On the other hand it’s a very specific situation and I really don’t enjoy the online world with Zooms, calls, mails and the like. I hate that. I look forward to the time when a live audience can see our movie.
What projects and ideas do you have to work on next?
I hope FAMU accepts me for their master program and lets me shoot my last student short and then there are a lot of themes for a feature that interest me.
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