Karel Roden is Jan Masaryk in New Czech Biopic

Masaryk, in which the acclaimed actor portrays the son of the first President of Czechoslovakia, premieres in Prague this Christmas

One of the most-anticipated Czech films of 2017 will get an exclusive pre-premiere at Kino Lucerna this Christmas.

Masaryk, from director Julius Ševčík, stars acclaimed Czech actor Karel Roden as Jan Masaryk, son of Tomáš Garrique Masaryk, the founder and first President of Czechoslovakia and one of the landmark figures in Czech and Bohemian history.

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Living in his father’s shadow, Jan Masaryk was torn between life in Prague and Britain, where he served as Ambassador from 1925. But external forces led to him becoming a key component in the Czech government-in-exile during World War II, where he served as Foreign Minister under his father’s successor, Edvard Beneš.

Jan Masaryk’s death in 1948 is shrouded in mystery; initially ruled a suicide, a 1990s investigation concluded he was murdered, presumably by the Soviet occupiers that had recently overtaken the country.

In the new film, set both in Prague and the UK, Oldřich Kaiser stars as President Edvard Beneš, while British actor Paul Nicholas (Tommy) portrays UK Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain. The filmmakers originally approached Jeremy Irons to play Chamberlain; he told producer Rudolf Biermann that he would not play such a coward, reports Novinky.cz.

Masaryk director Ševčík has experience in period films: he previously made the thriller Normal, about Peter Kürten, a serial killer that terrorized Düsseldorf in the 1920s.

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The director collaborated on the screenplay with Czech author Alex Koenigsmark, who passed away in 2013, and Petr Kolečko, who worked on the popular TV series Okresní prebor. Coincidentally, Roden played Jan’s father T.G. Masaryk in the TV series Zločinu v Polné.

Masaryk will go into wide release in March 2017, but Prague residents are getting a little Christmas gift courtesy of Kino Lucerna.

Between Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve, the film will have seven exclusive engagements at the Prague 1 cinema. Tickets are already on sale.

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