Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Overlooked DVD of the month - CEKSY SEN / CZECH DREAM

CZECH DREAM is a little like SUPERSIZE ME in that it's a documentary that centres on a single, brilliant idea. In this case, the two directors decide to fake the opening of a new Czech hypermarket. They have makeovers so that they look the part of corporate managers; they hire a marketing team to plaster the Czech Republic with posters advertising the grand opening; they sit back and wait for the people to come. While they're waiting they interviews shoppers, store workers and marketing men about the consumer revolution that the Czech Republic has undergone over the past decade. Here is a nation that experienced decades of rationed consumption under Communism, now collectively buying into the dream of sparkling, inviting aisles stacked with every kind of produce you could ever want, and lots that you don't need. Feel the calm satisfaction of the bulging trolley! Turn up to a grand opening, believe the hype! A wonderful allegory for EU membership? I'm not convinced. But as a slice of social history in a transition economy - yesterday the Czech Republic, today China - this is fascinating stuff.

CZECH DREAM played London 2004 and was released in the Czech Republic that year. It opened in the UK in 2005 and is available on DVD.

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