– Czech director Tomáš Mašín has just finished filming this historic film about anti-communist resistance fighters Josef and Ctirad Mašín
This article is available in English.
Lately, biopic dramas have become a staple of contemporary Czech cinema. Recent films such as Zatopek [+lire aussi :
interview : David Ondříček
fiche film] (the Czech entry for the 2021 Oscars race), Charlatan [+lire aussi :
interview : Agnieszka Holland
fiche film] (the 2020 Czech Oscars candidate that made it onto the shortlist) and, most recently, Il Boemo [+lire aussi :
interview : Petr Vaclav
fiche film] (this year’s submission for the Academy Awards) testify not only to the domestic demand for this type of fare, but also the international appetite for it. Among the latest historical figures receiving the big-screen treatment are brothers Josef and Ctirad Masin. Their life story is one of the most-discussed from the post-war period in Czechoslovakia. So far, several attempts to shoot the story have ended in failure, but now, Czech director Tomás Masin (a distant relation of the siblings’) has wrapped shooting for the film, which is simply named Brothers. Preparation for the project has been ongoing for 12 years.
In 1953, five young men crossed the border from Czechoslovakia to East Germany. They went to deliver a secret message from a Czechoslovak general to the US authorities, and they planned to join the US Army Special Forces in order to return and liberate Czechoslovakia. The three-day operation turned into “the largest manhunt of the Cold War” as thousands of East German and Soviet troops pursued the group for 31 days through thick and thin. Milan Paumer, Josef and Ctirad Mašín eventually made their way to West Berlin. And there, they created an anti-communist resistance group inspired by a World War II resistance leader, Czech general Josef Masin, the brothers’ father. However, the siblings’ heroic legacy has been tainted by the group’s killings of six people. Czech public opinion is therefore divided over their status, with some regarding them as heroes and others as villains.
Tomáš Mašín came to prominence with his feature-length debut, the historical drama 3 Seasons in Hell [+lire aussi :
fiche film]and the period genre pastiche Wilson City [+lire aussi :
fiche film]. “Brothers is a personal film for me. I understand the need for young guys to show the courage that their father demonstrated. But I also see their immaturity, inexperience, errors in judgment and rashness. I don’t dare to judge them; I just want to honestly tell their incredible story. I would like to provide an insight into the upbringing and thinking of such ambiguous and contradictory characters. I would like to dismantle this schematic evaluation oscillating between two extremes,” says Mašín in the director’s notes. Czech screenwriter Marek Epsteinwho penned Charlatan, Wilson City and Agnieszka Holland’s upcoming biopic Kafka (see the news), worked on the screenplay for Brothers. The script is informed by a wide-ranging study of archive materials, biographies, and consultations with historians and the surviving brother, Josef, who emigrated to the USA. It is also based on the book Gauntlet by his daughter, Barbara Masin. Emerging Czech actors Oskar Hes (Zatopek) and Jan Nedbal (The Last Race) have been cast in the leading roles, and the cast also includes Matej Hadek, Karel Dobry and Tatiana Dykova.
Brothers is being produced by Czech outfit MovieBrigadeand co-produced by German production company Rohfilm ProductionSlovak firm PubRes and Czech Television. Tea Czech Film Fundtea Slovak Audiovisual Fund and Eurimages have supported the project. The Yellow Affair is attached as the international sales agent. CinemaArt will handle the Czech theatrical release, with the domestic premiere set for 26 October this year.
We would love to thank the author of this article for this amazing web content
Two controversial figures from post-war Czechoslovakia get their biopic in Brothers