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Lost in Munich

Petr Zelenka
Ztraceni v Mnichove
Czech Republic  2015 / 105’
Like Crazy On Body and Soul

Petr Zelenka, one of the most familiar and liked modern Czech directors, the maker of Wrong Side Up, keeps his sense of humor and healthy perspective. His Lost in Munich begins as a story about an investigative journalist trying to break open a scandal in 2008 - when the media is abuzz about the Munich Agreement of 1938, in which the French Prime Minister Edouard Daladier betrayed Czechoslovakia to appease Hitler. In a conciliatory gesture, the French ambassador brings the now-dead Daladier's parrot to Prague, forgetting that the bird speaks and is sometimes less than diplomatic. Suddenly, the film takes a 180o turn, jumping from a typical comedy to a subversive mockumentary, a satire with an extremely long blade. Munich skewers the Czechs, their relationship to the past, present, their national stereotypes and image of the French. Zelenka laughs at the film industry, with its jury rigged fixes, screw-ups, blabbering actors, and squeezing of artistic visions into budgets. (He also remembers to poke fun at Polish directors.) Above all, however, he manages to show how history is constantly being rewritten, and does so with intelligent irony, in the spirit of Heydrich, who claimed, The Czechs are laughing beasts.

Krzysztof Kwiatkowski

Petr Zelenka

Petr Zelenka is a Czech playwright, screenwriter, and film and theater director. In his early youth, he was a bass player and songwriter for the punk band V noci (At Night). He made his first attempts at film in the late 1980s and early 1990s at the Faculty of Film and Television at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. After completing his studies, he worked as a playwright at Barrandov Studios and made films for Czech Television. He made his debut with the mockumentary Mňága - Happy End, a fictional story about the real-life band Mňága a Zdorp, which managed to elude the control of the major record labels. His Buttoners, which won five Czech Lions, brought him international acclaim after being screened at festivals in Thessaloniki and Valladolid. He also wrote the screenplay for David Ondříček's hugely popular film Loners. He is also known for the stage play Tales of Common Insanity, which he wrote and directed for Prague's Teatr Dejvicki in 2001 (it has been translated into many languages and performed in England, Japan, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Hungary, and Slovakia, among other places). Another of his plays, Coming Clean, was written for the Stary Theater in Krakow, which also provided the setting for his own version of The Brothers Karamazov, set an abandoned factory in Nowa Huta. Zelenka is known for his black humor and uninhibited imagination, as well as his ability to portray people teetering between mediocrity and madness.

Filmography

1996 Mňága - Happy End

1997 Guzikowcy / Knoflíkári / Buttoners

2002 Rok diabła / Rok ďábla / Year of the Devil

2008 Bracia Karamazow / Karamazovi / The Karamazovs

2015 Zagubieni / Ztraceni v Mnichově / Lost in Munich