Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Czech Dream (2004, Vit Klusák and Filip Remunda)

As a performance piece, this is actually more like an 8 or 9, but since the filmmakers are also the perpetrators, grading this is a little tricky. For a film that credits itself as a reality show, the filmmaking is fairly unpolished- the directors get the insistent camerawork down cold, but I didn't think they really captured much else (the Mickey-Mousing music, the graphic bumpers, the montages, and so forth), or maybe it's just that these aren't as prevalent in Czech TV. In addition, I wish they hadn't felt the need to appear on-camera again after the prank went down and discuss it with the "victims." Better, I think, to stand back and observe the fallout, both among the people there and in the media. Still, it's pretty potent stuff, especially its commentary on marketing and manufacturing hype. In our age of viral marketing of movies (e.g. the 1-18-08 hype) the lessons learned here are relevant as ever. But what really hit home was the portrait of the particular Czech mindset, a society that's still new to capitalism, with adults full of wonderment at the opportunities it's finally presented them, and the children who've basked in its glow practically all their lives. If we take our shopping malls and our Wal-Marts for granted, it's because we've never known another way, but these people have seen the alternative and they like the current option better. Sure, standing in line at the opening of a new hypermarket looks much the same as standing in line under Communism, but at least now you just might bring home a cheap TV and 20 lbs of bananas. Rating: 7 out of 10.

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