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A film that examines the relationships between lives on both sides of the proscenium, Petr Zelenka's Karamazovi finds a Prague-based theatrical ensemble arriving in Krakow, Poland - where its members prepare to mount a stage production of Fyodor Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov.
The central catch behind this unusual production is the locale: the play will be conducted at the local steelworks. Zelenka's central narrative crisscrosses two spheres of reality - the documentary-like sphere of the actors playing the characters, and the more traditional cinematic narrative involving the characters in the play itself.
Soon, distinct, haunting parallels between the two begin to emerge. Then, an unexpected tragedy arrives from out of left field that brutally impacts one of the spectators of the play, and further echoes the structure and preoccupations of the tale in the original novel.
Throughout, Zelenka explores one central theme: that of intellectuals and their moral accountability to a world that has lost both spiritual faith and a bedrock of ethos.