Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Czech Dream

There's very little I enjoy more in this world than a well orchestrated hoax. The larger the scale, the more I admire it. Original hoaxes that make it into the mass public are even rarer and and harder to pull off in this day of saturated and wide reaching media (although maybe it's easier because there are so many outlets?). Czech Dream is a funny and interesting documentary based around such a thing: a hoax directed at the general public.

Vit Klusak and Filip Remunda are two young filmmakers about to finish their studies at a Prague film school. For their last project they get a grant from the Ministry of Czech Culture and plot to pull off a hoax that ties in the subjects of consumerism, greed and the seductive power of advertising. Everything is filmed, from the planning of the hoax to the aftermath.

The pair, with the help of a sympathetic ad agency, create logos, commercials for TV and radio, splatter print ads and fliers all over Prague for a fictitious store called "Czech Dream." It's a supermarket (although they call it a "hypermarket" in the Czech Republic) on the outskirts of Prague. The main problem for those who show up at the grand opening ready to buy stuff (some come with order to buy everything from pickles to bread to electronic equipment)--there is NO store!

Ads blanket the city telling people to not come, to not spend money and to just stay away. The public just think it's a clever form of anti-advertising and it just draws them to the opening with more curiosity. They show up by the thousands. After they've walked (some people actually run toward the "building") to the front door they get a shock--there is no front door but a fake storefront in an empty field. Most of the Czechs shown are pretty irate at being duped as are the media when they get wind of the hoax.

Some of the victims look through their cloud of confusion to realize this stunt is an anti- consumerist statement against the Czech obsession for stores such as these. In 2008, advertising is so effective and sly that it can persuade the populace to show up despite clear directives to stay away. The frightening thing is this isn't just a Czech thing as this kind of hoax could have happened all over the world. People are gullible and hungry for the latest gadget at a cheap price and they are willing to show up at the crack of dawn and run through a field to get at that deal. Unfortunately for those people in Czech Dream, the store they are looking for is not real and they will instead be in a social commentary documentary that's very entertaining.


Anonymous said...

so...do we have to wait until the end of the month to see your rating?

- sd

Replicant said...

Well, it's obvious I liked it so at least 3*** or ***1/2.

Replicant said...

I actually saw this in October so my rating is down in the October movies list summary!