FNE at KVIFF 2010 East of the West: The Dreamers

By Irena Zemanová

    The Dreamers (Zoufalci) was a surprise critical success in autumn 2009 in the Czech Republic. A story about six former class-mates in their early 30's who are drifting and decide to change their problematic lifestyle was the feature debut and diploma movie for director Jitka Rudolfová at FAMU film academy in Prague (www.famu.cz).

    {mosimage}The 30-year-old Rudolfová previously shot several short movies and „films about films" at FAMU (including the short films about director Bohdan Sláma´s The Country Teacher and Night Owls directed by Michaela Pavlátová, both produced by Negativ Company). Czech critics were excited about The Dreamers, produced by Negativ company (www.negativ.cz) and distributed by Aerofilms (www.aerofilms.cz), but the low-budget movie failed to translate into a commercial hit.

    Acording to Pavel Strnad, head of Negativ, the budget of the movie was only CZK 16 million (640,000 euros) - less than half of the amount of the average Czech feature-length movies. (By contrast, a film from Jan Hřebejk is usually around CZK 35 million, while movies like The Protector by director Marek Najbrt or Lidice by Petr Nikolaev are in the range of CZK 65 million). Czech television (www.ceskatelevize.cz) coproduced the movie.

    The Dreamers introduces a new Czech talent, a very promising director who is not afraid to tell the true stories, even the simpliest ones. Rudolfová has already won several prizes for her short and doumentary movies: including the Famufest trophy in 2004 (Meat in Plate) and 2006 (Marta and Berta 26).

    Rudolfová, who was a student of the Czech 1960's new wave director Věra Chytilová at FAMU, uses a true story of herself and her friends, who moved from their small town to live and work in Prague during their university studies.

    "Of course there is plenty of fiction in my movie, but those friends of mine, whose stories I was inspired by in my full-length debut, are able to recognize themselves," Rudolfová explains. "I cant say it is a documentary, but it is influenced by the reality of our lifetime." The director used almost a documentary system of a work, often using a hand-held camera, focusing on a detail in every shot and combining the tiny episodes from lives of all six main characters with irony, sarcasm and excitement in explaining their dreams.

    The cast includes Simona Babčáková in the role of Dagmara, a 30-something woman dreaming about owning a beautiful flat in Prague near the IKEA store, which she is obsessed with; Slovak actress Zuzana Onufráková as Silvie, beautiful young woman who has a problem with alcohol and one-night stands; Pavlína Štorková as Linda, who lives with a despotic partner; Václav Neužil as Radim, the eternal university student; and Michael Kern and Jakub Žáček as Tonda and Otakar, two gays men.

    "I didnt want to use famous Czech actors, known from films or even television soap operas, that are so popular at the moment. On the contrary, I wanted to work with movie debutants, mostly theatre actors from smaller towns, who are much better for portraying my story," said Rudolfová.



    Negativ s.r.o.

    Ostrovní 30
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    Aerofilms, s.r.o.
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    Aerofilms, s.r.o.
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