Charlatan seen as film to beat at Saturday’s Czech Lions

Charlatan, photo: Alžběta Jungrová, Marlene Film Production

The 28th edition of the main national film awards, the Czech Lions, takes place in Prague on Saturday night, which Charlatan, Shadow Country and Havel among the main contenders. But what is the favourite to win? I discussed the 2021 Czech Lion Awards with Czech Radio film journalist Kristina Roháčová.

“In terms of Covid, it might seem like there weren’t that many films to choose from this year.

Charlatan,  photo: Czech TV

“But I think that we’ve actually seen some really solid contenders, which have done well even on the festival circuit abroad.

“There’s of course Charlatan, the Jan Mikolášek biopic from Agniezska Holland, which made the Oscar shortlist for Best International Film last month and is a personal favourite of mine.

“Then, as almost a miracle, there’s also Cook Fuck Kill from Mira Fornay, which I think only people in Uherské Hradiště [Summer Film School] and some smaller festivals saw last year, because it wasn’t in the theatres because of Covid.

Cook F**k Kill,  photo: Czech TV

“And somehow this almost experimental film about domestic abuse is here in the top five films of the year.”

What are your expectations? Which of the films do you think will be most successful on Saturday night?

“I think it can go two ways.

“One is the [Czech Film and Television] Academy going with Charlatan again.

“Because they were the people who sent Charlatan for the Oscars.

Shadow Country,  photo: Bontonfilm

“Usually, what we’ve seen in recent years is that they’ve chosen the same film.

“So it would be a real surprise if they chose for instance Shadow Country, which as we know won at the Czech Film Critics’ Awards last month.”

It seems to me that the Czech Critics’ Awards tend to be a little bolder, while the Czech Lions tend to be a little bit more conservative. Even though the film Havel wasn’t so well received, do you think it has a chance at the Czech Lions, given that it maybe fits the profile of the kind of thing they tend to like?

“I don’t think so.

“When Havel premiered there was this sort of discussion about it being the perfect film for the Academy and for foreign audiences, and being like this prototype of the perfect Oscar biopic film.

“But I think the discussion around the film changed a bit since that time.

“So in terms of going with the conservative flow of things I think Charlatan is the choice there.”

What do you think of the fact that Tereza Těžká of Caught in the Net, the documentary in which groomers of teenage girls were exposed, has been included in the choice for Best Actress?

“I think it was a lovely touch. I think it’s very deserving.

Tereza Těžká of Caught in the Net,  photo: Czech TV

“I was actually surprised that Caught in the Net wasn’t included in the top five films.

“I just think that there was an expectation that maybe this was the perfect year to include documentaries in the main category.

“I was kind of expecting that the film that would break through would be Caught in the Net.”