"Something Like Happiness", a new film by Czech director Bohdan Slama, won its first major success on the international stage at the weekend, clinching the Best Film award at the prestigious San Sebastian film festival. To add to the film's success, Ana Geislerova won Best Actress for her portrayal of a woman suffering from severe mental problems in the film, about ordinary people trying to survive the trials and tribulations of life. Tomas Baldynsky is a film critic for the magazine Reflex.
"San Sebastian is one of the really important festivals. It's an A-list festival, one of eleven such film festivals throughout the world. So when you win at San Sebastian, and when you win against Terry Gilliam and Michael Winterbottom, and other very well known names, it really matters."
At the Prague press screening of Something Like Happiness they were handing out tissues to journalists reviewing the film because it was such a tear-jerker. Did it have that effect on you?
"As a matter of fact I don't have anything against tear-jerkers. When you have an important story to tell I think you can use motives which are called commercial or sentimental, and I think that this story is about people who are trying to find happiness and they find it in themselves and in their ability to cope with life. And I think this is a kind of need. This film is unique because it's not that great, but it's very well done, and I don't think we have very many well-done movies."
"Well we're not Romania or North Korea, but still it is pretty much accurate. The director's main focus is trying to show life as real as possible. So, yes, there are people in the Czech Republic who live like this, there are a lot of people who live like this, so why should we hide it?"
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