The Czech Film and Television Academy has made its choice for which film to send to the 2011 Academy Awards, putting its trust once again in director Jan Hřebejk for his drama Kawasaki’s Rose. That Mr Hřebejk has Oscar potential we already know – his WWII drama Divided We Fall was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Oscar in 2000 – but was Kawasaki’s Rose indeed the best candidate for an Oscar on offer; that’s a question I put to film critic Ilona Francková.
“Well it’s really a twofold question, because one question is ‘is it the best film that was made last year’, and the other is ‘is it the most likely film to win an Oscar, or at least get a nomination’. Is it the best movie made last year? It’s a very good movie, in my opinion, it’s a serious drama, it’s professionally made, there’s some great acting, but it doesn’t really stand out. So, maybe it’s not necessary to nominate Czech movie for the Oscars every year.
“And is it likely to win a nomination? Maybe not, really, because it’s too similar in a way to another recent Oscar winner The Lives of Others. Although the structure is different, the topic is very similar, as is the atmosphere. So I would say it won’t make it through.”
“Kawasaki’s Rose is a drama set in the present but that looks back to things that happened more than 20 years ago when the characters were younger and when they made some vital choices that affect their lives today. There’s also a political story of guilt and of an accusation against a well-respected psychiatrist who’s accused of having cooperated with the state secret police in the past.”
So we have this perennial theme of communism again; do you think that this is still resonates with foreign film audiences in your opinion, and do you think it could do so with the academy? Or is it getting old?
“This movie isn’t just a look back at what used to be, it’s about how the past affects our present, or our future. So, it’s not really another movie about communism, it’s about what things that once were do to us today. So it’s a bit different, and I think the topics are universal enough, it’s about guilt, it’s about forgiving, it’s about complicated family relationships. So I don’t think that would disqualify the movie in the eyes of audiences.”
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