Czech Dream (Czech Republic, 2004)

This wry documentary feature is intro’d and staged by a pair of Czech film students that sounds like something out of Terry Southern’s The Magic Christian. Without telling why (but promising we’ll find out, which proves accurate), they pay off big Prague ad agencies to help them prank the consumer public, with a local ad blitz promising the opening of “Czech Dream,” a nonexistent deep-discount hypermarket, the whole hoax to be caught on camera as it unravels. We see the frighteningly elaborate mechanics of the advertising/marketing whizzes going into high gear, apparently infatuated with the phoniness as they design logos, photograph ads and print up circulars. Only midway through the project do some of these creative media folk realize how angry and deceived would-be customers might feel about Czech Dream being fake when they show up for a grand opening (the date coinciding with a solar eclipse) and learn there’s nothing to it. Wonder how many Americans — brainwashed for much longer by the capitalist marketplace than Eastern Europe has been — would take home a lesson from this stunt? Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque. At 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 3, and 5:30 p.m. Saturday, April 4. HHH 1/2
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