One week prior to the opening, Berlinale has announced that Jiří Menzel, renowned Czech film director and actor, will receive Berlinale Camera 2018 alongside Beki Probst and Katriel Schory. Jiří Menzel, whose artistic curriculum includes more than 20 feature films, is considered a legend of Czech cinema. Menzel’s world-celebrated film Larks on the String, had its premiere in 1990 at Berlinale, 21 years after it had been released and shortly after banned in communist Czechoslovakia.
Jiří Menzel will receive the award at the occasion of the world premiere of The Interpreter, a Slovak-Czech-Austrian co-production directed by Martin Šulík, where the Czech actor plays the main part together with his Austrian counterpart Peter Simonischek famous for Toni Erdman. Menzel will receive the award on February 23, on the day of his 80th birthday.
The Interpreter is one of the three films representing Czech cinema at the 68th Berlinale IFF. The Slovak-Czech-Austrian co-production is the work of prominent Slovak director Martin Šulík and the equally noted screenwriter Marek Leščák, who already have several successful films to their names, including The Garden (1995) and Orbis Pictus (1997).
A road-movie is a story of two men who have been brought together by an accidential mention on the WW2 events. 80-year-old Ali Ungár (Menzel) comes across a book by a former SS officer, describing his wartime activities in Slovakia. Ali realizes that one of the passages recounts the execution of his parents, and sets out to visit the former SS man, who now lives in Vienna. Instead of his parents’ murderer, though, Ali finds only his 70-year-old son. Georg Peis (Simonischek) is a former teacher who has distanced himself from his father’s past and is now struggling with alcoholism. The interpreter’s visit stirs his curiosity, so he decides to find out who exactly his father was before he dies. So it is that the two old men, the ascetic Ali and the bon vivant Georg, embark on a journey together to find the surviving witnesses of the wartime tragedy.
The Interpreter was filmed at various locations around Slovakia and in Vienna. In addition to Marek Leščák, the director brought in another long-time collaborator of his, cinematographer Martin Štrba. Alongside the lead duo, Zuzana Mauréry, Eva Kramerová, and Attila Mokos play supporting roles. The film was produced by the companies Titanic (Martin Šulík, Slovakia), IN Film Praha (Rudolf Biermann, Czech Republic), and COOP99 (Bruno Wagner, Austria). The coproducers are RTVS: Radio and Television of Slovakia and Czech Television. The project was supported by the Czech Film Fund and the Slovak Audiovisual Fund.
The trailer is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vmdVZ-PiqhM
More information here: https://www.berlinale.de/en/das_festival/preise_und_juries/08_berlinalekamera/Berlinale_Kamera.html