The Czech Republic has chosen Il Boemo to compete for the 2022 Oscar for Best International Feature Film, the Czech Film and Television Academy announced this morning. Under Academy rules, each country submits only one film to vie for the award, previously known as Best Foreign-Language Film, every year.
Directed by Petr Václav (The Way Out, We Are Never Alone), Il Boemo is a historical biopic about 18th-century Czech composer Josef Mysliveček, a close friend and musical influence on Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Vojtěch Dyk stars in the titular role as the composer, who primarily lived and worked in Italy; the majority of the film is in Italian, and filming took place at locations in both the Czech Republic and Italy.
Il Boemo will have its world premiere in competition at the prestigious San Sebastian Film Festival, which begins this weekend. It will be released in the Czech Republic from October 20, 2022.
Voting for the Czech Republic’s Oscar submission was conducted by the Czech Film and Television Academy from August 29 to September 9, with members choosing from a pool of 15 eligible films.
Il Boemo came in first in the voting process, followed by Slovak director Michal Blaško’s Oběť (Victim), which releases in Czech cinemas November 10, and Tereza Nvotová’s Světlonoc (The Nightsiren), which won a top prize at the Locarno International Film Festival last month and releases in the Czech Republic on October 6.
An Oscar shortlist of 15 films eligible for a nomination for Best International Film will be revealed on December 21, and the five nominees will be announced on January 24. Next year’s Academy Awards ceremony will take place on March 12.
The Czech Republic’s official Oscar submission, Il Boemo stars actresses Barbara Ronchi, Elena Radonicich and Lana Vlady in leading roles alongside Dyk as Mysliveček. Opera soloists Philippe Jaroussky, Simona Šaturová, Raffaella Milanesi, and Emőke Baráth are responsible for the vocals in the film, with music by the Czech orchestra Collegium 1704 under conductor Václav Luks.
Director Petr Václav, a graduate of Prageu’s prestigious FAMU film school, is best known for his Roma drama The Way Out (Cesta ven), which premiered at the Cannes film festival in 2014. His previous feature, We Are Never Alone, starred Karel Roden and Zdeněk Godla in leading roles.
Only one film from the Czech Republic has won the Academy Award for Best International Feature Film (Best Foreign-Language Film prior to 2020): Jan Svěrák’s Kolya, which took home the prize in 1996. Jan Hřebejk‘s Divided We Fall (2000) and Ondřej Trojan’s Želary (2003) are the only other films to secure a nomination.
Last year, the Czech Republic submitted the Olympic biopic Zátopek from director David Ondříček to the Academy Awards, but it ultimately failed to receive a nomination.
As part of Czechoslovakia, two films won an Oscar: the Holocaust drama The Shop on Main Street (1965) from directors Ján Kádár and Elmar Klos, and the quintessential Czech comedy Closely Watched Trains (1967) from Jiří Menzel.
Menzel’s My Sweet Little Village (1986), Miloš Forman’s Loves of a Blonde (1966) and The Fireman’s Ball (1968), and Svěrák’s Elementary School (1991) secured Oscar nominations for Czechoslovakia.