French-Czech-British co-production to be shown at Cannes Film Festival Closing Ceremony

'Les Bien-aimés'

Currently underway, the Cannes Film Festival is considered one of the most important film competitions worldwide. This year’s closing film, to be shown after the awards ceremony on May 22, was co-produced by a Czech company and features a number of the country’s actors, as well as Oscar-winning director Miloš Forman in one of the main roles.

Miloš Forman in 'The Beloved'
Two films representing the Czech Republic feature in the official program of this year’s Cannes Film Festival, which kicked off on May 11. Along with the student short Cagey Tigers, French director Cristophe Honoré’s The Beloved, or Milovaní in Czech, will be shown at the renowned international competition. While the film is not strictly a Czech one, it was co-produced by the French Why Not Productions and the Czech company Negativ. Pavel Strnad of Negativ explains how this came about.

“The collaboration grew out of a project that we had worked on together in the past. Why Not Productions collaborated with us on the films of Bohdan Sláma. They actually approached us after seeing the film Štěstí, which they liked. So we have worked together in the past, and they received a script from Cristophe Honoré which was partly set in Prague, so they asked us to collaborate again. We helped them secure funding, and aside from Czech actors, the film also had a Czech crew, and we were also involved in it financially.”

'The Beloved'
Director Cristophe Honoré’s film Love Songs made it into the main competition at Cannes in 2007 and later received the national film award of France, the César, in the category Best Music Written for a Film. The director’s new movie The Beloved features a number of Czech actors along with one of the country’s most famous directors. Pavel Strnad again.

“As far as Czech actors go, the biggest part in the film is played, paradoxically, not by an actor, but by the director Miloš Forman, who was cast by Christophe Honoré. We contacted him and made him the offer, and were very glad that he accepted. And other parts in the feature are played by actors Zuzana Kronerová, Pavel Liška and Václav Neužil, and others.”

The story spans the 1960s and 1990s in Prague, Paris and London, and each main role is played by a younger and an older actor to portray the different stages of the characters’ lives. Miloš Forman and Rasha Bukvic each play the Czech husband of Madeleine, a woman from Paris, who follows her husband to Prague but is forced to leave after the Soviets invade the city. The part of Madeleine is played by French actress and model Ludivine Sagnier and screen legend Catherine Deneuve. All the scenes that are set in Prague were actually shot on site, Pavel Strnad explains.

Pavel Strnad
“We shot in Prague for the most part. All the scenes that take place in Prague are set in the 1960s, in the period of the Soviet invasion, so we filmed scenes with Soviet tanks on the city’s streets. And the French actress Ludivine Sagnier also featured in some scenes that were shot here.”

The Beloved will be shown at the closing ceremony of the Cannes Film Festival on May 22.