Oscars: Czech Republic Selects 'Lost in Munich' for Foreign-Language Category

Courtesy of Lucky Man Films
'Lost in Munich'

Petr Zelenka's absurdist black comedy features a 90-year-old talking parrot that spouts racist slogans.

The Czech Film and Television Academy has submitted Petr Zelenka's Lost in Munich for consideration in the race for the best foreign-language film Oscar.

A farce that combines serious commentary on major issues in Czech history — the title is a reference to the Munich Agreement of 1938, in which Britain and France allowed Nazi Germany to carve up Czechoslovakia — with Zelenka's characteristic humor, the film features a 90-year-old talking parrot that spouts racist slogans and ruffles diplomatic feathers.

What begins as the story of Sir P, a nonagenarian parrot that once belonged to French prime minister Edouard Daladier, which is brought back to Prague as a living relic of the time of the Munich Agreement, shifts into mockumentary mode when Pavel, a desperate journalist suffering from a mid-life crisis, steals the bird and sparks a major diplomatic crisis.

Dubbed "a witty flight of fancy with a deceptively serious heart" in The Hollywood Reporter's review, the film won two top national awards for best screenplay and best editing and also is part of the European Film Awards selection for 2016.

Produced by Prague's Lucky Man Films, which also is handling world sales, Lost in Munich stars Martin Mysicka as the hapless Pavel.

The Czechs last won an Oscar in 1996 for Jan Sverak's Kolya and have twice made it into the final five in the foreign-language category.

Zelenka's film The Karamazovs was the national submission in the foreign-language category in 2008.