After just one weekend, the Peter Nikolaev film has 50,000 viewers to its credit and is confidently dominating the box office charts. Distributors in the U.S., Asia and Israel have expressed interest in “Lidice” as well.
Producer Adam Dvořák can finally take it easy after weeks of troublesome, complicated shooting; “Lidice” has found success among Czech filmgoers.
Following its premier weekend, the narrative-historical drama is the most heavily attended film in Czech cinemas. Nearly 50,000 Czechs have seen director Peter Nikolaev’s long-awaited picture during its first three days in theaters.
Over 10,000 immediately turned out for “Lidice” on Thursday, the premier date, breaking charts and upsetting even “Pirates of the Caribbean,” the animated film “Kung Fu Panda” and the newest picture by provocateur Lars von Trier, “Melancholia,” which, due to its creator’s unfortunate “anti-Semitic” remarks, aroused major attention at the Cannes Film Festival.
“We are glad that a Czech film is well attended once again this year — all the more as our film is not a light-hearted comedy,” Adam Dvořák commented on the film’s initial success. “High attendance indicates an interest on the part of the public in learning more about their own history,” the producer believes.
The success of the coproduction project, with a budget that climbed to 70 million crowns, will not end with the first weekend’s success. Even before the premier, the creators did not conceal their ambitions to sell distribution rights to “Lidice” abroad. Not surprisingly, the fate of Lidice is not well-known worldwide. The bloody deed of the occupiers was condemned by politicians in Europe and overseas during the war; towns and cities all over the world began to change their names to “Lidice,” in honor of the central Bohemian village, which was burned to the ground.
It is precisely because of the international potential of “Lidice” that the creators added a sequence portraying the assassination of Deputy Reich-Protector Reinhard Heydrich, which took place May 27, 1942.* The scene had been dropped from the original screenplay due to an earlier lack of finances.
“After consulting with the American distributor, we decided in the end to add the assassination. We also want the film to be comprehensible to world audiences who are not that knowledgeable of its European historical context. Now distributors, not just from the United States but from Asian countries as well, have shown interest,” stated Adam Dvořák.
The first foreign screenings of “Lidice” are already being planned. The Czech cultural center in Israel has expressed interest in the film, and the Czech embassy in Washington wants to have a showing for Czech compatriots in the U.S.
Tomorrow, on the eve of the anniversary of the Lidice tragedy, there will be a remembrance ceremony with a screening of the film on the grounds of the Lidice Memorial.
*Translator’s Note: In retaliation, the town was razed, its men shot, its women sent to concentration camps and its children destined for “Germanization.”