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Czech Republic submits The Painted Bird to fight for Oscar nomination

The Czech Film and Television Academy (CFTA) has selected The Painted Bird (Nabarvene ptace, 2019) directed by Vaclav Marhoul as the Czech candidate for the Oscar nominations

Prague, Sept 16 (CTK) – The Czech Film and Television Academy (CFTA) has selected The Painted Bird (Nabarvene ptace, 2019) directed by Vaclav Marhoul as the Czech candidate for the Oscar nominations in the category of the Best Foreign Language Film, Silvie Markova told CTK, on behalf of the CFTA, today.

The Academy was selecting the candidate out of ten Czech fiction feature and documentary films nominated by their producers.

The American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will announce the Oscar nominations on January 13, 2020. The 92nd Academy Awards will be presented in Los Angeles on February 9, 2020.

Marhoul also wrote the script for The Painted Bird, an adaptation of Jerzy Kosinski’s eponymous novel from 1965, and produced the film that competed at the prestigious International Film Festival in Venice recently.

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The film drew a high attention of the media and film professionals at the Venice festival where it won the Cinema for UNICEF award from a student jury, but none of the main awards.

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The Painted Bird was also screened at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 9. It was released in Czech cinemas last week.

There is no music and only nine minutes of dialogue in the 169-minute black and white movie, shot on 35 mm film. Its narrative, filled with blood and cruelty, takes place in an unnamed Eastern European country during World War Two, telling the story of a small boy who experienced the horrors.

Apart from Czech, Russian and German, the characters speak a variety of Eastern European languages. The main child role is played by Petr Kotlar. The film also stars Swedish actor Stellan Skarsgard, U.S. Harvey Keitel, English Julian Sands and German Udo Kier.

The Painted Bird was shot with a budget of roughly 175 million crowns at 16 different locations in Ukraine, Slovakia, Poland and the Czech Republic.

Three Czech films have received Oscar nominations since 1993 when the Czech Republic was established after Czechoslovakia’s split: Jan Sverak’s Kolya (1996), Jan Hrebejk’s Divided We Fall (2000) and Ondrej Trojan’s Zelary (2003), while Kolya won the Academy Award.

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Two years later, an animated short film by Czech-born Jan Pinkava, Geri’s Game, was presented with Oscar.

Another film by Jan Sverak, The Elementary School (1991), was also nominated for Oscar in 1997.

The first Czechoslovak Oscar-awarded film in the best non-English language category was The Shop on Main Street by Jan Kadar and Elmar Klos in 1965. Czech director Jiri Menzel’s Closely Watched Trains film was awarded an Oscar two years later.

The first person from Czechoslovakia to win the Oscar award was 12-year-old Ivan Jandl for his acting in The Search by Fred Zinnemann in 1949.

In 2008, Czech singer and pianist Marketa Irglova and Irish musician Glen Hansard won the award for the best film song for Falling Slowly from the Irish film Once.

The most successful Czech-born filmmaker Milos Forman got his first Oscar for his second film shot in the USA, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975), and then in 1984 for Amadeus. The latter film received a total of eight Academy Awards two of which also went to Czechs – Theodor Pistek for costumes and Karel Cerny for set decoration.

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Most recently, Czech short film Daughter by Daria Kashcheeva, a Russian who studies at Prague’s Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts (FAMU), won the student Oscar for the best animated film from international schools.

($1=23.286 crowns)

hol/dr/pvr

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