Český sen (Czech Dream)

Vít Klusák & Filip Remunda's infamous 2004 hypermarket hoax

Directors: Vít Klusák, Filip Remunda
Writers: Vít Klusák, Filip Remunda
Starring: Vít Klusák, Filip Remunda

Whatever you may think of their infamous hypermarket hoax or their subsequent brush with media ubiquity, Vít Klusák and Filip Remunda's dispassionate deconstruction of how they spent the spring of 2003 - creating, hyping and luring hundreds of unsuspecting shoppers to a nonexistent superstore - makes for absorbing viewing. From its memorable opening montage (Czechs queuing at a bare-shelved potraviny in the '60s, the barricades in '89 and an electronics-store opening in the '00s) through its journey into the heart of marketing darkness, where sekt-swilling admen wax philosophic about how rather than what they're selling, Český sen poses all sorts of questions about the advance of consumerism and branding into post-communist life and resolutely refuses to provide easy answers.

Neither patronizing practical jokers nor perils-of-capitalism ranters, Klusák and Remunda remain elusive, even ambivalent about what they're doing, allowing "victims" and viewers alike to draw their own conclusions about the issues raised and about the filmmakers themselves. (In a fascinating backlash moment, the pair's use of a state arts grant to help with their hoodwinking brings some of the disappointed shoppers to mind of the government's contemporaneous pro-EU campaign.) It helps that the former FAMU students also turn out to be winning deadpan comics, striding straight-faced and business-suited through the media looking glass. Funny, fascinating, open-ended, original and one of the best documentaries made anywhere in recent years.

Year: 2004
Runtime: 1 hour, 30 minutes

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