Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Czech Dream

by Sandra Spears

The documentary Czech Dream was a very thought-provoking documentary. The documentary covered the negative effects of consumerism and showed them through a rather unique approach. The documentary, directed by two film students from the Czech Republic showed the change within the Czech Republic that has occurred since the late eighties. The directors planned and followed through with a “fake” supermarket opening. This process included widespread advertising campaigns and promotions, as well as TV and radio adds. The advertisement slogans were designed with the intention to deter consumers from buying, fighting and even from coming.

On the advertised grand opening day, about 2000 people attended in anticipation of the new opening. While anxiously standing behind the barriers that were used to keep the crowd in place they patiently awaited the ribbon cutting. Shortly after the crowd was released and began moving on an unpaved road, only to have found out that the supermarket merely consisted of a facade. The reactions upon this discovery were mixed.  However, after the confusion over the brank had set in, many people felt angered and betrayed. Others thought it was funny, and understood the message that the two directors were trying to send.

I enjoyed this documentary very much. It was a very clever and unique idea. For their audience, I believe the directors explicitly achieved to show the often-negative effects of consumerism and its effects on modern society. While advertisement campaigns and media are very powerful in informing and influencing people, no one seemed to take the actual messages portrayed by the slogans seriously. I think it goes beyond most consumers’ imagination that a supermarket would actually seriously advertise for consumers not to attend.

Lastly, the documentary showed how successful, interesting and catchy advertisement through campaigns and media outlets can attract crowds of people to a “ fake” supermarket. Within the Czech Republic the documentary is said to have provoked reactions and controversy not only in the in the Czech people but also the Czech parliament.

To view the trailer, please visit the following link: http://vimeo.com/3136317

Resources: http://www.linktv.org/programs/czech-dream

Sandra is a graduate student in Social Work, working towards her MSW. She has completed all of her required course work as of this semester and will be starting an internship at the Center for Women in Transition in Urbana this August.

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