Karlovy Vary film festival East of the West competition Of Parents and Children

By Irena Zemanova

    Multi-awarded Czech director Vladimír Michalek creates a bitter-sweet comedy from a seemingly banal situation, where father and son go on a walk together through the magical urban landscape of Prague.

    Based on the novel by Magnesia Litera Prize-winning author Emil Hakl, Of Parents and Children wends its way through the generations, from the family's private "little" past to the major events in 20th century history. His first film in seven years, Of Parents and Children was highly anticipated by both critics and audiences alike. The film's appearance in the Karlovy Vary film festival's East of the West competition marks its international premiere.

    "After I read the novel of Emil Hakl, I knew I want to make it. It has wonderful dialogue, and I loved the description of the relationship between father and son," says Michalek. The only problem was how to adapt the screenplay and who to do it, he remarked. Michalek re-teamed with Jiri Krizan, who wrote the screenplay for another Michalek´s 1998 Czech-Slovak-Polish co-production Sekal Has to Die, winner of nine Czech Lions including Best Film, Best Direction and Best Screenplay.

    Work on the screenplay took more than a year, as did the casting of the lead actors.

    "On the other hand, surprisingly, financing of the movie wasn´t such a problem," says Michalek. The movie with a budget almost €1 million (over CZK23 million) received a €340,000 grant from Czech state fund for support and development of Czech cinematography.

    The production company Open Field Pictures (www.openfieldpictures.com), founded by Michalek and producer Radim Hladik in 2004, also found a strong co-producers, including Czech TV Nova (www.nova.cz), Barrandov Studio a.s. (www.barrandov.com ), Soundsquare studio (www.soundsquare.cz), UPP (www.upp.cz) and gas conglomerate RWE (www.rwe.cz).

    The shooting itself lasted two months, April and May 2007, on location in Prague and in Slovakia.

    Czech distributor company Bioscop (www.bioscop.cz ) released the movie on March 6, 2008, to Czech cinema. Almost 75,000 viewers have seen it over eight weeks, according to the Czech Union of film distributors (www.ufd.cz). Domestic box office reached €420,000.

    Michalek's previous credits include Forgotten Light and Angel Exit.