New Slovakian political thriller Scumbag in the final phase of production
- Slovakian director Mariana Čengel Solčanská and independent producer Rudolf Biermann have joined forces to direct a bleak genre flick about real-life crimes
With the recent premiere of the Slovak-Czech political thriller Amnesty [+see also:
film profile], inspired by Václav Havel’s amnesties and the bloodiest prison riot in Slovakia’s history, genre fare based on recent political events is clearly in demand. Peter Bebjak’s The Line [+see also:
interview: Andrey Yermak
interview: Peter Bebjak
film profile] , set during the era of the impending Schengen border between Slovakia and Ukraine, Michal Kollár’s The Red Captain [+see also:
film profile], unearthing the crimes of the communist past, Mátyás Prikler’s upcoming Power (see the news) and Mariana Čengel Solčanská’s thriller Kidnapping [+see also:
film profile], revolving around the controversy that arose when the secret service abducted the president’s son in the early 1990s for political reasons, also confirmed the audience appeal of such movies at the domestic box office.
The latter helmer, Mariana Čengel Solčanská, who has been working on a historical drama called The Maidservant (see the report), recently wrapped principal photography on yet another political thriller, Scumbag [+see also:
film profile]. Based on the book of the same name by Slovakian journalist and political commentator Arpád Soltész, the story of Scumbag hinges on the murder of a young journalist, echoing the real killing of Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová, which stunned the nation in 2018 (in fact, Soltész remarked that the murder was the actual impetus for the book). However, the killing itself is not the only event that may have parallels with real life.
The book portrays “a system where the borders between mafia and politics, and between crime and the law, do not exist. Life is worthless; death is a commodity. The state is controlled by the base urges of high-ranking politicians.” The novel is said to narrate those events in “a fictitious country”, and the filmmakers have reiterated this notion, saying the film “is not a documentary”.
Director Solčanská shared directorial duties with Slovak-born, Prague-based independent producer Rudolf Biermann, of In FILM (who also produces movies by Martin Šulík, including The Interpreter [+see also:
interview: Martin Šulík
film profile] and his latest, Man with Rabbit Ears – see the news), who, in addition, is producing the film and served as a co-writer together with Solčanská. “We decided to make a cruel genre film that addresses not only this country [Slovakia], but also the people in power and their nature. It is just an unfortunate coincidence that the film resembles our reality and that the characters mirror the vilest crooks,” said the producer.
Cinematographer Ivan Finta, of Half Life fame and who most recently worked on the thriller Casino.$k, has been working behind the camera, while the cast consists of domestic actors Jozef Vajda, Marko Igonda, Dano Heriban, Gabriela Marcinková and Diana Mórová.
Soltész’s debut novel, Meat (Once Upon a Time in the East), is also being given the big-screen treatment by the producer and director of The Red Captain, Michal Kollár, of Slovakian outfit KFS Production. Meat is the result of Soltész’s decade-long investigative work and is said to depict real events from the local underworld. The film is slated to be finished in spring 2021.
Scumbag is being produced by Grimaldi Production and co-produced by Biermann’s Czech outfit In FILM. The domestic release is scheduled for 6 February 2020 and will be handled by Cinemart SK.
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