Czech film Country Teacher excells in Venice

Irena Hejdová
4. 9. 2008 6:00
Story of unusual love triangle heads for Toronto
Pavel Liška (left) as Country Teacher
Pavel Liška (left) as Country Teacher | Foto: Negativ/Martin Špelda

Toronto - The film festival in Venice is not over yet, and there is already another film feast starting out in Toronto on Thursday.

The Toronto film festival is said to be the place where the Oscar season begins. Many international films that are to enter the North American market in the fall will have its local premiere in this Canadian city, among them the new Czech film Country Teacher by director Bohdan Sláma.

Premiered and warmly accepted in Venice

The film premiered on international screens at the Venice film festival in its parallel section Venice Days.

Country Teacher is a story of a teacher who escapes the city without being able to commit to a relationship, be it with a woman or a man, and teaches at a country school. Soon he finds himself involved in an unsual love triangle.

The film was warmly welcomed in the Italian film contest. "All tickets were sold out, people were applauding and there was a long debate after the screening," says Petr Oukroupec, the producer of the film.

Bohdan Sláma when shooting Country Teacher
Bohdan Sláma when shooting Country Teacher | Foto: Marek Špelda

Reviews of the film were published in many prestigious newspapers. This years the main category did not make the critics overly excited, so they shifted their interest in the other sections. Country Teacher was one of the films that grasped their attention.

Honest film about sexual ID

"Honest Czech film about sexual identity," that is how Deborah Young from Hollywood Report described the film.

Dan Fainary from Screen Film surprisingly described it as a bittersweet comedy that had the most chances on Eastern European markets. He appreciated the actors´ performance as well as picturesque locations in south Bohemia´s countryside where the film was shot.

The success of the film at the Venice festival made international distributors more interested; besides Poland, Hungary, Germany, Switzerland and France, the film was also sold to Austria, Portugal and Greece.

Pavel Liška starring in Divoké včely (Wild Bees) which is set in the countryside as well
Pavel Liška starring in Divoké včely (Wild Bees) which is set in the countryside as well | Foto: ČT

"We will know more after the Toronto festival is over," said Pavel Strnad, the producer of the film promises. There are even more distributors expected to show up in Toronto than in Venice. Toronto will feature 249 films; some of them - like Country Teacher - already premiered elsewhere, but are entering the American market via the 33rd film festival in Toronto.

Country Teacher will be presented by its director Bohdana Sláma and the Wild Bunch company that represents the film in the global market.

Film director Bohdan Sláma has made two films before that raised his profile among Czech and international viewers - Divoké včely (Wild Bees) and Štěstí (Something like Happiness), which won numerous awards abroad.

The teacher is played by Pavel Liška, one of the Czech leading young actors.


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