Hey, Prague—you got punk’d! In this subversive Central European slice of reality TV, Czech film students Vít Klusák and Filip Remunda protest the kudzu creep of globalization with a stunt worthy of the Yes Men. As “hypermarkets” (i.e., homegrown Wal-Marts) invade the Czech Republic, the directors commission a massive ad campaign for an everything store called “The Czech Dream.” Thousands show up for the grand opening, expecting implausibly huge discounts on everyday staples—only to get a rude surprise, one that gives the emptiness of “The Czech Dream” a whole new meaning. The filmmakers sometimes come off as smug jerks, but that doesn’t mean they’re wrong about the insidious impact of chain colonization, or the infernal effectiveness of something-for-nothing come-ons even in political pitches (as was happening during filming with the Czech government’s push for the European Union). If their outrage about the evils of advertising seems ho-hum, no wonder: To Americans, shilling is like air.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on June 5, 2007