Slama’s Happiness out to break records
by Sakis Kontos
Bohdan Sláma’s much anticipated film Something Like Happiness (“Stestí”) opens today in an unprecedented 21 theatres across the Czech Republic. It has been well promoted and it promises to make cinemagoers burst into tears – while breaking audience records.
In his latest film Sláma continues where he left off with his previous film Wild Bees, presenting the affectionate story of two girl friends who live together on the fringe of Czech society and the country; Dasha (played by Ana Geislerová) is schizophrenic and slowly gives up care of her two children. Monika (Tatiana Vilhelmová) sacrifices her own lifestyle and attitude in order to take care of them.
“I don’t know if the people will leave the theatre in a happy mood,” said Vilhelmova. “But maybe they will need a tissue or two to wipe their tears as they will encounter emotions about real friendship and love”.
The film’s producer Pavel Strnad says the film took “extra long to produce as it started in early 2003 and was finished only this year, as the director wanted to film in all four seasons”. But, he adds, it was worth waiting for. Sláma’s acclaimed previous feature Wild Bees (“Divoke vcely”), which won the VPRO Tiger Award at the International Film Festival Rotterdam in 2002, signaled, according to the critics, the arrival of an exciting young talent who many compared directly to the greats of the Czech New Wave of the 1960s. Most of them have been quick to give Sláma the thumbs up for this new one too.
The young director’s previous accolade is the best advertisement for the film which its producers believe could do well in the box office as well as on the festival trail. It had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, September 8-17, but the producers expect a lot from their presence in the official section of the San Sebastian International Film Festival which starts today.
Something Like Happiness will also be shown in Nyhtes Premieras, the Athens Film Festival which is growing in stature, September 15-25.
Something Like Happiness is produced by Negativ Film Productions and Czech TV, the public broadcaster, in association with the German company Pallas Film GmbH; it is financed by Eurimages, the Czech Film Support Fund and the German regional fund MDM. World sales are handled by French company Wild Bunch.
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