Šimon Holý • Director of And Then There Was Love… | #ukscams | #datingscams | #european

“To me, the movie is about manipulation more than about the relationship between mother and daughter”

– In his newest feature, the filmmaker explores the manipulative world of fortune-telling and easy solutions in life

Sometimes it is not the others, it is you. Or, if in doubt, consult a fortune-teller. Šimon Holý sends his two female protagonists to a pricey séance to not only sort out their bad family luck, but also find a way to be loved again. But is life really that simple? Or is it all just a pricey scam? And Then There Was Love… [+see also:
film review
interview: Šimon Holý
film profile
had its world premiere in the Proxima section of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.

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Cineuropa: Your movie centres on a fortune-teller advising on love. Have you done consultations before? Where did the idea come from?
Šimon Holý: I met my ex-partner kind of through a fortune-teller. He told me, you will find love in two years and nobody else in between. And he was right. So that’s where I felt like, wow, cards. I spent a lot of time on Instagram and Facebook because I was impressed by the manipulation of these fortune-tellers. First, they will draw you in with these very nice quotes, then they tell you that you’re going to die.

Your movie includes a very critical character, but at the same time, the fortune-teller does give good advice.
We’ve discussed this quite a bit. Because to me, this movie was the work of a collective. The actress playing the fortune-teller is an amateur esoteric herself. And she really didn’t want to show cards as bad. She wanted to show more sides to it. And I liked that idea quite a lot. So we tried to portray it as being dangerous, but sometimes helping us to move on.

Was the script improvised, then?
We had four pages of treatment where we had every scene as a paragraph. From there on the actresses improvised. That’s why I even decided to give them a screenwriter credit.

Your protagonist is a lonely woman. Given that women are so often still defined by their relationship to men, was this a story that only would have worked with this gender constellation?
You always see weak women in the media and advertising. Even though they say it’s a strong woman, there is always a guy that defines her. And I thought it would be good to see them being manipulated. Specifically in a movie where there are no men.

The mum keeps blaming her problems on the men in her life with no introspection. Why do we as a society try to find easy solutions to difficult problems?
We went through a lot. We had COVID-19. Now we have a war, we have huge inflation. The world is on fire. So I guess that people are really scared. To me, the movie is about manipulation more than about the relationship between mother and daughter. Like the mother, she’s working in advertising. She studied psychology. And it felt very funny to me that someone like that would go to a fortune-teller.

Outsourcing her problems, so to speak.
I have this theme. People who know that there will be a big change in their life, but they’re scared of it. They do everything in order not to change, but they will have to eventually.

You like writing about women. Are you working on anything where a male perspective is at the centre?
There is a project called Thinking David. It’s a Czech, Israeli, French, and Hungarian co-production. It’s about a guy coming out in a Jewish community in Prague and then travelling to Israel. The movie will be about defining who we are. Are we Czech, Jewish, or gay? Are we European? That one is semi-autobiographical. So I felt like that character should be male.

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