and Mrs. Stodola, by Petr Hátle, tells the twisted love story of a couple of serial killers

– The Czech documentary filmmaker is preparing his first feature film, a biopic inspired by real crime about a famous Czech married couple who are afraid of the elderly

This article is in English.

Follow up on existential biopic Me, Olga Hepnarova [+lire aussi :
making of
interview : Tomáš Weinreb, Petr Kazda
fiche film
, about one of the most notorious mass murderers in Czechoslovakia, another case of horrific killings is getting big-screen treatment. A murder targeting elderly citizens occurred in a sleeping Czech hamlet in the early 2000s, and in 2003, a seemingly ordinary husband and wife revealed the causes.

Today, Czech documentary is thriving Petr Hatle (The Great Night) worked on a project about murderers, Dana and Jaroslav Stodola, it was originally intended to be a documentary film. The film producer, Thomas Hrubyin nutprodukce, says that the central couple’s story arc is beginning to emerge and “reveals some atypical dynamics of power between them”, prompting the pivot to make the fiction film. Mr. and Mrs. stodola thus marking Hátle’s feature-length fiction debut.

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The film follows working class two (played by Jan Hajek | and Julie Záčkova), who cannot find steady employment and will soon be financially destitute. The wife orders the husband to steal from their elderly neighbor; however, Jaroslav downplayed the situation, and the petty robbery turned into robbery and murder. Since investigators seemed to pay little attention to the incident, the couple devised their modus operandi of targeting retirees in remote villages.

As the film centers on the pair, the story is viewed from Jaroslav’s perspective, as he is easily influenced by his wife’s manipulation. Dana was intoxicated with the power she thought she could use on someone else, and the feeling aroused an even greater desire for blood. Hátle, who wrote the script himself, consulted the investigator’s files; however, he fills the blanks in their personal lives with the most plausible explanations behind the series of senseless murders.

Similar to award-winning existential drama Me, Olga Hepnarova, Mr. and Mrs. stodola not your typical biopic of real crime, rebuilding the evil deeds themselves. The director seeks to show the thin paper line between normal and abnormal, and how a minor offense can snowball and capture horrific dimensions. The drama will portray evil in its most mundane form, with echoes of Michael Haneke’s cinema brand, even if the director notices that he doesn’t intend to follow the path of exploitation. The film obviously doesn’t show a drop of blood, and instead focuses on the psychological dimension.

The first clapperboard crashed in December 2021, and production will last until June 2022. Hrubý confirmed to Cineuropa that editing will take place until the end of 2022, with the final cutting scheduled to be completed in February 2023. DoP Prokop Soucekwho lensed Hátle’s award-winning first feature-length documentary, The Great Nightshot Mr. and Mrs. stodola using the least amount of lighting equipment, usually working with natural light.

Mr. and Mrs. stodola a two-country co-production between the Czech Republic (Thomas Hrubyof nutprodukce) and Slovakia (Jakub Victorin, in nutprodukce’s nutprodukcia offshoot). Both national funding bodies, the Czech Film Fund and the Slovak Audiovisual Fund, support the film, and Czech Television serves as co-producer. A theatrical release in both countries has already been obtained. The rights for the remaining territories still apply. Mr. and Mrs. stodola no sales agent yet.

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