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The world premiere of Sean Ellis’ new film Anthropoid, which tells the real-life story of the wartime assassination of a top Nazi general in Prague, will open the 51st edition of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, which is set to run July 1-9.
Based on “Operation Anthropoid,” in which British-trained Czech assassins were parachuted into Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia tasked with killing SS General Reinhard Heydrich, the pic stars Jamie Dornan (50 Shades of Grey) and Cillian Murphy.
Shot last year on location in Prague and on Czech military training grounds and at Barrandov Studios — where the interior of the Orthodox Church of Saints Cyril and Methodius, where Heydrich’s assassins were finally cornered, was rebuilt — Anthropoid explores one of the most audacious operations of World War II.
Heydrich was the main architect of Hitler’s “Final Solution.” The movie, which also stars Charlotte Le Bon, Ana Geislerova and Toby Jones, follows the actions of two soldiers from the Czech army-in-exile. Josef Gabcik (Murphy) and Jan Kubis (Dornan) are parachuted into their homeland tasked with finding a way to kill one of the best-protected Nazis in Europe.
“Since the film takes a look at a key event in Czechoslovak history, the assassination of Heydrich, we are glad that our festival will symbolically host its world premiere,” Karlovy Vary festival president Jiri Bartoska said Thursday in a statement.
Ellis presented the film last year at a Karlovy Vary press conference, where he spoke of the 15 years of “detailed research” he put into the 1942 assassination before writing the script.
The director and castmembers, with the exception of Murphy, will be at the film’s premiere in Karlovy Vary on July 1.
Heydrich’s death sent shock waves through the Nazi elite and prompted them to raze the village of Lidice, murdering the men and deporting the women and children to concentration camps.
Anthropoid was produced by Mickey Liddell’s LD Entertainment, along with Pete Shilaimon and, from the Czech Republic, David Ondricek and Krystof Mucha of Lucky Man Films. Mucha also has long been a senior member of the festival’s management team.
U.S. distribution rights have been purchased by Bleecker Street. The producers are in talks for the film’s distribution in other countries, the festival said.
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