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November 22, 2019
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Hollywood Reporter says "The Painted Bird", starring a Romani child actor, is among the 20 best films this year

23.9.2019 9:03
Petr Kotlár of Český Krumlov plays the main role in
Petr Kotlár of Český Krumlov plays the main role in "The Painted Bird". (2019) (PHOTO: 2media)

The Hollywood Reporter says "The Painted Bird", a Czech film by director Václav Marhoul, is one of the 20 best films of this autumn's festivals. The magazine called the film a "grim and violent reflection on the cruelty of human nature".

The Czech Film and Television Academy is sending the film to compete for an Oscar nomination for best foreign film. Jerzy Kosiński's novel about an unnamed boy who wanders through Eastern Europe at the end of the Second World War has now been fantastically adapted for the big screen, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

"In the heartbreaking black-and-white film, the horrors of the Holocaust, seen through the dark eyes of extraordinary newcomer Petr Kotlar, come alive," the magazine said. Kotlár, who is Romani, plays the main role.

Kosiński claimed to have drawn from his own wartime experiences in "The Painted Bird". Nazis do not play a significant role in the story, nor does their systematic persecution of the Jewish nation, but the novel is nevertheless considered part of post-Holocaust literature.

The novel is most concerned with the brutality, perversion and superstitions of both townsfolk and villagers, as well as human beings' ability to commit the most incredible cruelty. Marhoul's film has received inconsistent reviews so far, both for how it has been crafted and mainly for how closely it sticks to the literary subject.

Some viewers have been bothered by the depiction of the cruelty and violence, while others, including many foreign critics, are highlighting the film exactly because it is faithful to the original and provides a strong testimony. "I stand by every second of this film, there are no compromises there. I'm glad that all those who have contributed to it accompanied me on this journey without hesitation, from my genius cameraman Vladimír Smutný to Harvey Keitel and Stellan Skarsgard," said Marhoul, who directed, produced and wrote the screenplay.

"The Painted Bird" shone at the Toronto and Venice festivals and premiered in Prague on 11 September, going into circulation in the Czech Republic on 19 September. In Venice it garnered significant attention from the foreign press and film critics and its creators were given the "Film for UNICEF" award by the student jury.

Marhoul is a director, producer and screenwriter. He has won awards abroad and domestically, including Czech Lions, for his film "Mazaný Filip" (2003) and above all for "Tobruk" (2008).

He contributed to producing the films "Pražská pětka" (1989) and "Kouř" (1990) and produced the film "Postel" (1998). He graduated in production from the Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (FAMU) and then worked for Czech Television and Krátký film.

He began work as a production assistant at the AB Barrandov Film Studio and was its general director from 1990 to 1997. He then established his own company, Silver Screen, in 1997.

fk, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Culture, Festival, war, Xenophobia



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