FNE at Finale Plzen: Colette

    Colette by Milan Cieslar Colette by Milan Cieslar Happy Celluloid

    PLZEN: The first day of competition at the 27th Finale Plzen national festival of Czech and Slovak films offers up Milan Cieslar’s English-lingo Colette.

    Colette was introduced during the 2013 Finale at the presentation of the upcoming Czech films when it was in postproduction. This romantic war film is based on the book by Pulitzer Prize nominated Czech writer Arnost Lustig who also co-wrote the script.

    Colette, produced by Happy Celluloid and Wandal Production is a Czech/Slovak coproduction. This 100 m CZK (4 m EUR) film was supported by The Czech State Fund for the Support and Development of Czech Cinematography, the Film Industry Support Programme, the Ministry of Culture Slovakia, and the Slovak Audiovisual Fund.

    Following in the footsteps of Cieslar’s 2000 film Pramen života (The Spring of Life) and 2005 Krev zmizelého (Blood of the Missing), Colette is Cieslar´s third film with the a WWII subject.

    The story begins in 1995, when the writer Willie is invited to a dinner party hosted by his son’s girlfriend. There he encounters the mother of his son’s girlfriend and, coincidentally, his first love whom he met at a death camp. When Willie returns home, he begins to write a story about a young, beautiful Belgian Jewish girl named Colette. The viewer is taken back in time to Auschwitz / Birkenau in the summer 1943 as seen through Willie’s eyes. The death camp scenes were for the most part created in postproduction, a very important part of this film´s production aesthetic.

    Czech actor Jiří Mádl plays Wille, with the other lead roles played by Clémence Thioly and Jeremi Durand from France and Czech actors Ondřej Vetchý, Petr Vaněk, and Michal Dlouhý.

    The film was shot both in Czech and English versions, in anticipation of wide international release. The Czech version was released in 12 September 2013 by Bioscop, reaching 75,000 admissions.