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Karlovy Vary Q&A: Marek Najbrt (Director), Polski Film

The film, exploring the boundaries of reality and fiction, offers a different style than other Czech productions.

Described by Karlovy Vary Artistic Director Karel Och as “…a witty and subversive reflection on the boundaries of reality and fiction,” Polski Film (a Czech/Polish co-production) will receive an eagerly anticipated world premiere in the Karlovy Vary International Competition. Czech director Marek Najbrt talkas about the genre defying work.

Can you tell us a little more about the film?

Polski Film is a film about actors, which means it is about people who oscillate somewhere between reality and illusion and sometimes they lose a notion of their own whereabouts. In the leading roles you can see popular Czech actors Liška, Daniel, Matonoha and Polášek who portray themselves. They put at stake their own identities and motives from their real lives. In the film it all blends with fiction and creates a phantasmagorical story of making a film which does not turn out very well. 

What was the inspiration behind the film?

In Polski Film we returned to our experiments from the end of 90’s where we combined fiction films and documentaries. It is an expression of film-making freedom and we refused to take into consideration any genre rules. We tell this story the way it needs to be told. 

How would say the films is similar to or differs from Protektor (Najbrt’s previous film which was a huge hit in its native territory)?

At first it seems very different but in fact all our three feature films have a lot in common. In all three you can find self-irony, humour, darker tones and they tend to be authentic. It surely has something to do with the fact that our team stays more or less the same so our work is continuous, too.

How important for you is it that the film is premiering at Karlovy Vary in competition and what does the festival mean to you?

Not only is it a festival with a very unique atmosphere and one of the peaks of the film season in the central Europe, us taking part in the main competition means rounding off our journey which began one year ago by shooting in Karlovy Vary. Working on Polski Film was really impressive. “Impreza”, as they say in Poland. And we who “walked the journey” want to make the most of this premiere.

How do you think that Polski Film fits into the current aesthetic of Czech cinema and what are you feelings on contemporary Czech cinema in general?

Even though it was not our primary aim, our film differs a lot in its style from the rest of the Czech production. It is simply “a little different film”, even generally, on an international level.  

As for the Czech cinematography, I do not like to generalize. Considering the density of the Czech population, there are pretty many films being shot here, some of them are good, other are bad – just like anywhere else. I am not very keen on some waves or movements, all I care about is to have topics that make enough sense to be filmed. In this respect I consider film an individual matter.

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