Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Directors: Vt Klusk, Filip Remunda
Genres: Indie & Art House, Documentary
Studio: Arts Alliance America Release Date: 08/05/2008 Run time: 90 minutes
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A brilliant hoax. See it!
George R. Collison | Boston MA | 12/15/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"On a lark I picked this disk off a wall at a video store. It is fantastic. We have Eastern European friends and relatives who complain often about the effects of capitalism on their youth. It has had a profound effect. Two Czech film makers make up a "hypermarket" the "Czech Dream" and sell it to the public with the aid of a first class advertising agency. The campaign comes complete with a snazzy logo, a melodramatic song with a children's chorus. Czech Dream has ads with unusual catchy slogans. The glitzy mall culture so familiar to Americans is alive and doing quite well on the eastern side of the former Iron Curtain. Czech Dream promises the ultimate in consumerism. 4,000 Czechs buy it and show up at 10:00 am on May 21st to an empty field with a storefront that is only a 2,000 ft banner. They walk over a mile to come to that store front. The duped almost customers are a remarkably patient and philosophical lot. The crew interviews many of them. There are shots of TV interviews with government ministers later. A student asks the minister, "Why isn't the campaign to join the EU on television the same as that campaign for the "Czech Dream" that didn't exist?" The minister skillfully evades the question as he was trained to do.
Done in America, this non-existent 'dream' stunt would have ended much more poorly for the film crew. The Czechs got a bit miffed and philosophized a bit. In American I envision riots even gunfire and most certainly prosecution by rabid district attorneys intent on punishing those who dared to show Americans how gullible, greedy, and stupid they really are. Home Land Security would certainly join most vigorously in the prosecution. Al Qaeda or some other terrorist must certainly be behind anything that makes Americans look so stunningly dumb. "We are not cattle!" This film forces us very seriously ask, "How much of that 'dream', the 'American Dream' is a product of a scientifically designed mass marketing blitz?" More chilling is the peek these film makers at what lies behind the curtain Toto has pulled back. Is any of what we see as our 'dream' our own?
Get this movie immediately. Recommend it to your friends."
When a mean-spirited prank falls flat
Roland E. Zwick | Valencia, Ca USA | 09/22/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"The main problem with the documentary "Czech Dream" is that isn't really saying what it thinks it's saying.
In an audacious - I hesitate to use the word "inspired" - act of street theater, Vit Klusak and Filip Remunda, two student filmmakers from the Czech Republic, pulled off a major corporate hoax to serve as the basis for their movie: they deliberately fabricated a phony "hypermarket" (the Eastern European equivalent of Costco or Wal Mart Super Store), built an entire ad campaign around it - replete with billboards, radio and TV spots, an official logo, a catchy theme song and photos of fake merchandise - and then waited around to see just how many "dopes" would show up to their creation on opening day. They even built a makeshift façade to convince people that the store itself actually existed.
One might well ask, "Why do such a thing?" Well, that's a very good question, but the answer the filmmakers provide isn't all that satisfying a one. Essentially, we're told that the purpose of the stunt was to show how easily people can be manipulated into believing something - even something that's not true - simply through the power of advertising. And the movie makers run for moral cover by claiming that the "real" (i.e. higher) purpose for the charade is to convince the Czech people not to fall for all the advertisements encouraging them to join the European Union. Fair enough - especially when one considers that the actual advertisers who agree to go along with the stunt declaim against the unethical nature of lying to customers, all the while justifying their collaboration in the deception by claiming it to be a form of "research" into what does and does not work in advertising. In a way, by allowing themselves to be caught on camera making these comments, these ad men and women are as much dupes of the filmmakers as the poor unsuspecting people who are the primary target of the ruse.
But, in many ways, the satirical arrow not only does not hit its intended target, it ironically zeroes right back around on the very filmmakers who launched it. For it is THEY THEMSELVES and NOT the good-hearted and naturally trusting people who ultimately come off as the unethical and classless ones here, as they proceed to make fools out of perfectly decent people, some of them old and handicapped and forced to travel long distances on foot to get to the spot. And what is all this supposed to prove anyway? That people are "greedy" because they go to the opening of a new supermarket looking for bargains? Or that they're stupid and gullible because they don't suspect that there might not be an actual market even though one has been advertised? Such vigilance would require a level of cynicism that would make it virtually impossible to function in the real world.
No, I'm afraid this smart-alecky, nasty little "stunt" only proves what complete and utter jerks the filmmakers are for making some really nice people feel like idiots. And, indeed many of them, when they finally discover the trick that's been played on them, react with a graciousness and good humor I'm not sure I would be able to muster were I to find myself in their position.
I'm not saying that the movie isn't gripping - somewhat like witnessing a massive traffic accident in action - but, when the dust has finally settled and all the disappointed customers return red-faced and empty-handed to their homes, we can safely declare that they are not the ones who should be feeling ashamed."