Alice Nellis film wins Czech Lion
Saturday night saw the Czech Republic host its annual national film awards, known as the Český Lev, or Czech Lion. No single film swept the board, but director Alice Nellis’s film Tajnosti, or Little Girl Blue came away with best film.
The film is a poetic tale of a mother with a unique view of the world. In the midst of an existential crisis, she uses these observational talents to ease her personal angst. It opened to generally warm reviews, with critics praising its strong acting, music and slick production design. I asked film critic Tomáš Baldýnský if he was surprised that the film won the main award:
I asked Baldýnský to elaborate what he thought made the film such a winner:
“I think it’s a film mainly focused on women, and since I am not a woman, I can’t really give a balanced review of it. When I was writing my review, I wrote that it was a film that was really focused on women, that women sit at the table and talk to themselves, and if a man goes to that table and listens in a bit, then we just don’t understand”
Most observers would contend that contemporary Czech cinema is not in a very good condition at present. Following the strong state support offered by the communist regime, and the brief creative flourish that occurred in the early nineties, today, Czech cinema is struggling to find a voice comparable to the world-wide following the country garnered during the 1960s New Wave. Cheaper-to-produce documentary films are flourishing, while dramatic ones are, many critics contend, still failing to offer Czech audiences anything new. I asked Tomáš Baldýnský if he agreed with this assessment:
“Well, I think it’s recovering. I think that our cinematography has been ill and it was kind of a grave illness a couple of years ago, and now I see, not only from the quality of films, but from the atmosphere among the filmmakers as well is that they’re preparing films with higher aims. They somehow feel the vibe of European cinema and the topics they are trying to present are more and more open to Europe and the world so I think that we are looking ahead to some better times.”