Czech-Slovak period drama Kryštof, about faith, hope and sacrifice, enters post-production
by Martin Kudláč
- In the movie, Czech director Zdeněk Jirásky depicts the illegal removal of monastic orders in early-1950s Czechoslovakia
After Czech filmmaker Zdeněk Jirásky (Flower Buds [+see also:
film profile], In Silence) wrapped the second and final shooting phase on his latest project Kryštof, post-production began in early August, with the editing stage expected to last until the end of 2019. The Czech Film Foundation called the script, written by Kristián Suda, “a fragment from a sad part of our post-war history, although true and ideologically undistorted”, when it won its award in 2016.
The indirect inspiration for the film was a testimony from Post Bellum, a non-profit organisation preserving the stories of World War II veterans, Holocaust survivors, political prisoners and persecuted minorities. However, scriptwriter Suda insists that Kryštof is not an attempt to reconstruct a real event, adding, “It is not an attempt at a general portrait of the 1950s.”
The film follows the eponymous protagonist, a young monk, as he helps the people persecuted by the communist regime transfer to Germany. The story is set against the backdrop of the illegal and violent elimination of monasteries in communist Czechoslovakia (in April 1950, the project of removals called Action K, orchestrated by the secret communist police force, swept through the country, closing down monasteries and male Catholic monastic orders). Kryštof came to the monastery to escape from the world, yet these events force him to “run for his life, and to understand that this is his last chance to revolt against the brutal political power and to save his loved ones”, the film’s synopsis reveals.
The film’s subtitle, 3 Escapes, foreshadows the story’s structure as a loose triptych, whilst “opening up possibilities to three planes of visual, sound and musical approach”, the director explains. Czech stage actor Mikuláš Bukovjan plays the lead character in his first film role, while Alexandra Borbély, a Slovakian actress of Hungarian descent and the winner of the European Actress Award for her performance in On Body and Soul [+see also:
interview: Ildiko Enyedi
interview: Ildiko Enyedi
interview: Réka Tenki
film profile], stars opposite him.
Kryštof is being produced by Fulfilm (Czech Republic) and ALEF FILM & MEDIA (Slovakia). Czech Television, Barrandov Studios, FULLHOUSE Production Group, UN FILM and Radio and Television Slovakia are co-producing. The Slovak Audiovisual Fund, Czech Film Fund and Ministry of Culture of the Slovak Republic supported the project. The movie’s domestic release is scheduled for autumn 2020, and Bontonfilm is handling the domestic distribution. The producers are in negotiations with potential sales agents.
Did you enjoy reading this article? Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive more stories like this directly in your inbox.