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Czech Dream

Director: Vit Klusak and Filip Remunda

Czech Republic| 2004. English subtitles. Colour. Dolby stereo. 90 min.


All over Prague, the colourful campaign spreads over bus shelters and in the media. ‘Don’t come!’ advise the adverts for a shopping mall opening soon on the outskirts of the city. ‘Don’t spend!’ warns the next phase of posters. Words predictably unheeded as the crowds throng in their hundreds to grab the bargains announced in the glossy fliers. There’s just one significant piece of information these eager purchasers are missing out on: it’s all a stunt perpetrated by the directors of this provocative documentary. The self-proclaimed ‘Czech Dream’ shopping experience is nothing but a painted hoarding.
It’s not actually giving too much away to reveal the ending, since Vit Klusak and Filip Remunda’s film sets out to dissect the business of selling. The scruffy film students pass themselves off as confident business executives thanks to a product placement deal with a major fashion house. They engage the services of a top advertising agency who’re up for the challenge of persuading the public that ‘Czech Dream’ is as real as any other supermarket chain, and as for the cost of the posters and fliers—it’s covered by their graduation project grant. The fact this major scam (in the best possible sense) is state-funded does not go unnoticed when the crowds twig they’ve been duped, but the pointed detail here is how many people make the connection to the government-sponsored campaign supporting the ratification of EU membership. Certainly, there’s high comedy here, but also a potent warning about the perils of unquestioning consumerism in whatever form it takes. Serious mischief, you have to love it.

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