Prague - The Karamazovs, Tobruk and Country Teacher are the three Czech films that have been shortlisted for the highest award of achievement in film awarded in the Czech Republic. The Czech Lion award is the country's version of the Oscars.
The nominations were announced in an official ceremony presented by self-styled presenter Ester Kočičková in the fashion of Swedish legendary band Abba on Friday night in the Lucerna Hall.
The Karamazovs film directed by Petr Zelenka who is undeniably one of the most talented filmmakers of his generation was inspired by Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky's greatest novel The Brothers Karamazov. The story of a troubled relationship between sons and a father who gets eventually killed is set in a steel factory in Poland. Extraordinarily, the film was shot in about twenty 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 ends up teaching in a country school. Soon he finds himself involved in an unsual love triangle.
Stories of Czechoslovak WWII soldiers that fought in the desert near Libyan port of Tobruk were the inspiration to director and producer Václav Marhoul for his film Tobruk. Unlike Zelenka with his Karamazovs, Marhoul worked on Tobruk for years.
"There is no love affair involved, no female characters. Many people said that this film was not going to work with women. But after the premiere, it was women who came to me and said that Tobruk was a sad but a good film," Marhoul said shortly after the film premiere.
The battle for the 2008 lion awards will be equally balanced, as the Karamazovs and Tobruk received 8 Lion nominations, while Country Teacher got 7 nominations.
First prizes awarded
On Friday night the US film No Country for Old Men directed by the Coens brothers was awarded the Magnesie Award for Best Foreign Film. The Film Critics' Award was given to docuemntary Citizen Havel.
The feature documentary about the dissident playwright who became the head of state was film by Pavel Koutecký who died prematurely before he could finish the film. The documentary using the long-term observance technique attracted as much international attention as its main protagonist did during his presidency.
The Czech Lion jury is comprised of members of the Czech Film and Television Academy and eligible films must have been released in the year prior to the awards ceremony and must have been at least co-produced by a Czech film studio.
The Czech Lion Awards will be officially announced on March 7 in the Lucerna Hall and will be broadcast live on public Czech TV.
Last year Bohdan Slama's film "Stesti" or "Something Like Happiness" made a record in the film award history by clinching seven prizes of the Czech Lion Awards.