06 July 2022
At the 75th Locarno Film Festival, Czech cinema will be represented by three Czech films. Slovak-Czech thriller Nightsiren by Tereza Nvotová will celebrate world premiere in the Cineasti del Presente Competition, while experimental short Asterión by Francesco Montagner will world-premiere in the Pardi di Domani section. Furthermore, Locarno’s Semaine de la Critique sidebar will introduce documentary feature The Visitors by Veronika Lišková. All three films were supported by the Czech Film Fund.
The prestigious Cineasti del Presente Competition, dedicated to emerging directors and devoted to first and second features, will host world premiere of Tereza Nvotová’s second feature Nightsiren. An oppressive thriller tells a story of a young woman who returns to her native mountain village, searching for answers about her troubled childhood, but as she tries to uncover the truth, ancient legends begin to invade modern reality, leading the villagers to accuse her of witchcraft and murder.
Tereza Nvotová, whose evocative debut Filthy (2017) caught the eye of Czech film critics and won the best film award as well as the prize for newcomer of the year, based the Nightsiren’s setting on her own memories – in a hundred-year-old cabin, with no electricity or running water, where she has spent time since childhood. This wilderness setting also represents the place where the Nightsiren’s protagonist goes to return to the place where her wandering in today's world began.
The film is a joint project of Nvotová, BFILM (Slovakia) and Miloš Lochman of moloko film (Czech Republic) with Radio and Television Slovakia also being on board as a co-producer. The Czech Film Fund supported Nightsiren in the calls for early script, development and production altogether with EUR 434 000, and the project also received the Eurimages support (EUR 260 000).
Czech cinema has recently been visible in the Cineasti del Presente Competition. Last year, Francesco Montagner's Brotherhood premiered in this section, while three years ago the competition presented the co-production drama Oroslan by Slovenian director Matjaž Ivanišin.
Director Francesco Montagner, last year’s winner of the prestigious Pardo d’oro with his debut Brotherhood, returns to Locarno with brand-new work Asterión. An Experimental documentary short will world-premiere in the Pardi di Domani section for expressive experimentation and formally innovative films, which last year introduced another Czech short – Love, Dad by Diana Cam Van Nguyen.
In Asterión, Montagner reflects on the ambiguous relationship between man and bull. He focuses on the history, present, meaning and symbolism of a strange yet persistent human ritual and wonders why a man wants to dominate the bull, embody its strength, and subconsciously become the bull: a Minotaur.
The film was made in Czech-Slovak co-production with Veronika Kührová and Michal Kráčmer of Analog Vision acting as main producers. Co-producers include Slovak Artichoke and FILMTALENT Zlín. The Czech Film Fund supported Asterión in the call for production of experimental films with EUR 20 000.
Locarno’s sidebar Semaine de la Critique marks its 32nd edition this year, which will be enriched by world premiere of Czech documentary film The Visitors. Second feature by Veronika Lišková (her debut Daniel’s World internationally premiered at Berlinale in 2015) follows the story of a young anthropologist who moves with her family to Svalbard, Norway to study how life is changing in the Arctic. After falling in love with her new home, she discovers that more than icebergs are vanishing there. Through conducting interviews with residents, she begins to perceive how heterogeneous the small local community actually is, while also revealing tensions that lie beneath the surface.
Czech-Norwegian-Slovak co-operation is produced by Kristýna Michálek Květová of Cinémotif Films in co-production with Ten Thousand Images (NO), Peter Kerekes Film (SK) and Czech Television. This month, the forthcoming film was presented within Eastern Promises’ Works in Progress at the Karlovy Vary IFF, and as a project in the making, the doc benefited from the support of the Czech Film Fund – combined EUR 72 000.
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