Czech comedies are on the rise (update)


    The traditional gloom-ridden Czech film may be giving way to a brand new trend if Wedding on the Battlefield, a comedy by Dušan Klein, is any indication. In its first three weeks it attracted 60,000 viewers, not bad for a genre that has begun to score a string of successes.

    Wedding on the Battlefield, which premiered Jan. 10 and is distributed by Falcon (www.falcon.cz), is set in a picturesque Moravian village where men like to act out famous Napoleonic battles.

    Klein became popular with his comedy series on poets. For example, The Poets Never Lose Hope became the third most popular movie of 2004. But comedies in general are doing well, and will soon account for one-half of all Czech films produced.

    "Czech film seems to be making a rash move toward local productions," veteran Czech film scene observer Martin Šmatlák told FNE. "Czech film, in contrast with Slovak film, is able to earn a living just from domestic sales.

    "To sell a Czech film internationally is still a problem," Šmatlák added. "To gain some 200,000 viewers at home seems no problem at all."

    Wedding on the Battlefield was produced by Bio Illusion film company (www.bioillusion.com), founded in 2003. The CEO of Bio Illusion, Miloslav Šmídmajer, has worked with Czech TV channel Nova (www.nova.cz) as a documentary director.

    Nova is a main partner of the new film, budgeted at 27 million crowns (€1 million).

    "I think comedies are increasingly important for Czech cinema," he told FNE. "I like those which are kind and optimistic. Why? Because the outer world is too sad, too complex."

    Šmídmajer is now in production of the animated Jan Bárta film In the Attic and plans a new fairy tale comedy which will be directed by Klein. Šmídmajer´s documentary on Miloš Forman is in post-production.