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PRODUCTION / FUNDING Slovakia / Czech Republic / Poland

Slovakian filmmaker Juraj Lehotský starts shooting Applause

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- Bartosz Bielenia, of Corpus Christi fame, stars in the leading role as an artist frustrated by his thwarted ambitions

Slovakian filmmaker Juraj Lehotský starts shooting Applause
Bartosz Bielenia in Applause

Slovakian filmmaker and producer Juraj Lehotský, who scooped the CICAE Art Cinema Award in the Directors’ Fortnight at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival for the docudrama Blind Loves [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, has started principal photography on his latest feature-length fiction project, Applause. Lehotský turned to fiction filmmaking with the dramas Miracle [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
(2013) and Nina [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Juraj Lehotský
film profile
]
(2017), and Applause marks his third venture into this domain. “Applause explores the ‘smallness’ of us all. It discusses how we all need to feel complete and are longing for happiness, how we define ourselves as unique, and what, in all of that, we understand as a victory,” the director says about the project.

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The movie follows the lives of two brothers. Matus, a talented musician, abandoned his rising career when his mother fell ill. Now, after her death, he is living with his stepbrother, David, who suffers from achondroplasia, and each copes with life in his own way. While David takes whatever life may offer him, Matus feels frustrated by his thwarted ambitions. “Unlike David, who found happiness in a care home, Matus cannot find any joy despite the success he’s been having. He observes the simple life of his brother, which is richer in its simplicity. He slowly realises that happiness is a state of mind hidden in the small things, and that the life we live is not only about us, but about the ones we live for,” states the film’s synopsis.

The script was co-written by Timotej Križka, who is also lensing the film, and Lehotský himself. The main role of Matus will be played by Polish actor Bartosz Bielenia, of Jan Komasa’s Corpus Christi [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Bartosz Bielenia
interview: Jan Komasa
film profile
]
fame, while Czech non-professional actor Vojtech Zdrazil has been cast in the role of David. Slovakian actress Judit Bárdos, of Fair Play [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, Gyorgy Kristof’s OUT [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: György Kristóf
film profile
]
and the upcoming Piargy (see the news), and Romanian-German actor Sabin Tambrea, most recently seen in Corneliu Porumboiu’s The Whistlers [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Corneliu Porumboiu
film profile
]
, also star in the film. Music plays an important role in the feature, and Czech composer Aleš Březina, with whom Lehotský previously collaborated on Nina, has been consulted on scenes involving an orchestra, including how it functions and the life of a concert musician in general. Shooting started on 21 September, and will take place in Slovakia and Austria, adhering to the COVID-19 measures currently in force in both countries to ensure a safe shooting environment. Post-production will follow in 2021, with a release expected the same year.

Applause is being produced by Slovak company Arytmia (producers Michaela Jelenek and Juraj Lehotský) and is planned as a Slovak-Czech-Polish co-production. Katarína Tomková is a delegate producer on the project. The Slovak Audiovisual Fund and Radio and Television Slovakia have supported the project. The film’s budget is €1.4 million.

You can watch the film’s teaser below:

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