FEATURE LOCATION REPO_B__T___
ifty people milling about in a field by a riverbank - that’s motion pictures. Glamorously enough. the field in question is about an hour‘s drive outside Prague. in the heart ofthe Bohemian countryside — an almost perfect meadow bordering a glittering stream which winds between spectacular wooded hills. And the film being made is the i new feature by Chris Young and Ian Sellar. the men responsible for Venus Peter. the : surprise success oftwo years ago. i
Europe to'locate a piece of newsreel footage that contains images of his parents. killed in the war. Once in Prague he becomes involved in a bizarre triangular relationship with a film librarian (Bonnaire) and her boss (Ganz). “It started out as a train movie .' comments Sellar. ‘We had to choose a place for it to go to. because the story felt it was about Europe generally. Ifyou look at a map ofall Europe. Prague is the centre. so that was where we came. Prague itself then became a lot more interesting. as I‘m naturally interested in the European experience — it‘s very intriguing for a Scot to go to the middle of Europe and to feel as
Where Venus Peter was a triumph ofthe impossible — creating an internationally acclaimed debut from little money and even !
less resources. this follow-up work. entitled Sandrine Bonnaire European as anyone else. because we’ve all
Prague. is clearly moving into higher gear. . . l got the same cultural connections.’ '
Boasting the services of two major . into Sandrine on the bank. kiss her and fall ' The idyllic landscape of the riverbank is j
European actors _ Bruno Wings ()fDes-jre j into theriver. Despite the strong sun he is matched. as a backdrop. by the splendour of
Ganz and Sandran Mamie”,- Hm) Bonnajre soon shivering. and for continuity reasons Prague's own buildings. Two particular
—and calling on a multi-nationalcrewand has to Change his shorts everyshot. Things landmarks. both featuredinthe film. arethe
funding sources. Young and Sellar have put ; are progressmg slowly: at one point Guy. medieval Powder Tower. a late gothic
together what is practically a blueprint for thefirst assistant director. whose job it is to monster which was once used for storing
the future — a fully paid up Eurofilm. ‘ mamtaln overall momentum. jumps fully arms. and the Jewish cemetery. where
On set. the impact ofthis internationalism Clothed into the river to solve a potentially 12.000 graves are packed into the space ofan
is brought out. Director scum and the two 5 disruptive technical problem. There is a ordinary churchyard now. ironically.
members ofthe sound crew are from break for a (damn fine) lunch from the seething with German tourists. The unique
Scotland. as is Alan Victor and Barry i (English) caterers. but in the afternoon flavour of Prague. now emerging from
Cumming. who plays the lead part in this. : Shooting becomes a race against the sun to decades ofsuppression. comes from its
his first film. The camera unit are all French. ' complete the day’s schedule before the hills central European. l—lapsburg-influenced
and the construction crew are Czech. f block out the light. Tension mounts but the heritage of magnificent architecture and
Despite the curse of Babel hovering . last shot is triumphantly completed with two network ofold streets which have been
permanently overhead. everything ‘ minutes to spare. and everybody piles into fortunate enough to escape both wartime l progresses smoothly enough. with cars and buses for the journey back to ‘ bombardments and the ravages ofStalinist g considerable help from a Czech assistant Prague. redevelopment. ; ' director. The script. written by director Ian Sellar. is Acting inside this weight of history is a f E The scene being shot on the day I arrive peculiarly appropriate to the European considerable responsibility for anyone. ‘I l i involves a lot of cold. watery work. Alan has _ orientation ofthe production. A young man imagine now in Czechoslovakia the people i
to ﬂoat down the river on an airbed. bump ‘ (Cumming). obsessed by his past. travels to are really sad. The life is terrible.’ comments ‘
Ian Sellar preparing for a take in a Prague street cafe with Sandrine Bonnaire and Alan Cumming.
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10Thc List 28June- 1 1 July 1991