Chilean director Alejandro Fernández Almendras shooting The Play in the Czech Republic
by Martin Kudláč
- A Czech cast has been assembled to star in this drama with comic elements, about the role of the contemporary male
Principal photography on a new international project is about to wrap in the Czech Republic. Chilean director Alejandro Fernández Almendras (Much Ado About Nothing [+see also:
film profile], Sundance Grand Jury Prize for To Kill a Man [+see also:
film profile]) is finishing the shoot for his latest film, a black-and-white drama with comic elements, entitled The Play. It is a co-production between Chile, the Czech Republic and France, partially funded by a grant from the Jeonju Cinema Project, courtesy of the Korean festival, where the film is set to have its world premiere in May. The Play follows the young director of a theatre in a Czech town. He attempts to stage a personal and ambitious play, Phaedra by Euripides, based on Miguel de Unamuno’s rendition from 1930 and set against the 1991-1992 privatisation of Czech enterprises. In the process, he faces myriad professional hurdles and personal crises. The film was shot in 14 days.
“The topic of creation, its hesitation and uncertainness, is for me an important reflection not only on the theatre environment but on the arts in general,” says Fernández Almendras. “The other topic in the film, maybe the most important storyline, is the complicated situation of Peter [the protagonist] in relation to his triple role as a father, a partner and a professional. The Play is a sentimental film that tries to grasp the complicated, opposing, intensive, disarranged and confused aspects of the current male role.”
The film is being made in the Czech language and stars a Czech cast led by actor and emerging filmmaker Jiří Mádl. “Working with Alejandro is like riding a rollercoaster while trying to read your favourite book. The schedule is super tough, and we are all a little sleep-deprived, but I truly love it. I am suffering through and enjoying my days with Alejandro at the same time.” The post-production work is expected to be finished in Chile in May, ahead of the premiere at the 18th Jeonju Film Festival, and the movie will be edited by the filmmaker himself. The Chilean producer will attend the European Film Market with the project, although the process of selecting a sales agent is still in progress. Considering the festival runs enjoyed by Almendras’ previous projects, The Play is expected to travel the international film festival circuit after its world premiere, and then enter domestic theatres.
The Play is a co-production by Film & Roll (Czech Republic), Jirafa (Chile) and Arizona Productions (France), and is backed by a grant from the Chilean Film Fund in addition to the aforementioned injection from the Jeonju Cinema Project.
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