Protektor submitted for Oscars
The Czech Film and Television Academy (CFTA) has chosen Marek Najbrt's WW2 thriller Protektor as its entry in the race for the foreign-language Oscar.
The film had scarcely been released to theatres Sept 24 when the academy announced its decision. Academy president Petr Vachler pointed out that Protektor shared themes with other Czech films that had fared well at the Oscars before. “CFTA has chosen this year the film of Marek Najbrt, which is tailor-made for Hollywood sensibilities – war, Germans and Jews,” Vachler said.
Protektor is produced by Pavel Strnad and Milan Kuchyňka of Negativ, with co-producers Česká Televize and Box! Film und Fernsehproduktions GmbH. The production received a record CZK 16m from the Czech state film fund.
Najbrt wrote the film with Robert Geisler and Benjamin Tuček, with whom he also wrote Champions (2004). "When we finished Champions, we joked that our next film would be about the Holocaust,” Najbrt told Czech daily Mlada fronta Dnes.
Protektor stars Marek Daniel (A Country Teacher [+see also:
interview: Bohdan Slama
film profile]) and Jana Plodková (Empties [+see also:
film profile]) as Emil, a radio journalist, and Hana, his actress wife, living in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia. Hana's film career comes to an abrupt end because of her Jewish ancestry. Emil uses his prestige as a radio celebrity to protect Hana, but she refuses to hide at home and flouts laws banning her from cafes, cinemas and other public places. The assassination of a Nazi official brings their malingering marriage to a crisis.
Czech critics have heaped considerable praise on Protektor, notably on its technical recreation of war-era Prague.
The film will see its international premiere at the upcoming London Film Festival and has received interest from festivals in Denver and Palm Springs, said Strnad. Distribution is planned for Germany and Poland.
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