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Apr 16, 2009 12:00 AM - Apr 23, 2009 12:00 AM

Disappearing Act: European Cinema from New Wave to New Wave

April 16–23, Czech Center New York at the Bohemian National Hall. Includes 18 contemporary feature films from 9 European countries presented in partnership with 8 European cultural and governmental institutes. Reservations only for opening night and panel discussion. Other screenings admission on first come first serve basis. Admission Free

Czech Center New York presents:


Disappearing Act

European Cinema from New Wave to New Wave           

April 16–23, 2009

Czech Center New York at Bohemian National Hall

321 East 73rd Street (between 1st and 2nd Aves.), New York


Includes 18 contemporary feature films from 9 European countries presented in partnership with 8 European cultural and governmental institutes.


Q&A with directors Vaclav Marhoul (April 16), Anna Faur (April 18), and Serge Bozon (April 19)

Panel discussion chaired by Richard Pena



The Czech Center New York, a cultural institute and agency of the Czech Republic, presents Disappearing Act, European Cinema from New Wave to New Wave in a newly opened digital cinema from April 16 to April 23,. The series features eighteen contemporary European films—two each per country from Austria, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia—and a short film by a Serbian student from the Prague Film Academy. The series is curated by Irena Kovarova and organized by the Czech Center New York in partnership with the Austrian Cultural Forum New York, the Consulate General of the Slovak Republic with the support of the +421 Foundation, the Cultural Service of the Embassy of France, the Goethe-Institut New York, the Hungarian Cultural Center in conjunction with the Extremely Hungary festival, the Italian Cultural Institute, the Polish Cultural Institute, and the Romanian Cultural Institute. The program also marks the occasion of the Czech Republic's presidency of the European Union.


Contemporary European cinema is alive and well, if not too visible in mainstream American movie theaters. This program presents 18 contemporary European films that have made a name for themselves on the festival circuit and with critics, but quickly disappeared from US film screens and are largely unknown to the American public. It brings these films back and introduces some titles that have not yet been seen by the general public, especially works by younger or less established directors. Films will be introduced by special guests, and directors Vaclav Marhoul (April 16), Anna Faur (April 18), and Serge Bozon (April 19) will be present for Q&A sessions after their screenings.


Czech films broke out from behind the Iron Curtain in the '60s with the films of the directors of the so called Czechoslovak New Wave. Ever since, the access of Czech films to foreign screens has been made easier by this important movement in cinematic history. A couple of years ago another European national cinema was praised with the title – the Romanian New Wave – and the focus has turned to its directors. A panel discussion will attempt to shed light on the discoveries and legacies of the cinematic "New Waves" and the presentation of foreign cinema in America in general. The panel will be chaired by Richard Pena, director of the New York Film Festival and the Film Society of Lincoln Center and professor of film at Columbia University. He will be joined by A.O. Scott, film critic of the New York Times; John Vanco, vice president and general manager of IFC Center; Jytte Jensen, MoMA curator of film and member of selection committee of the New Directors/New Films festival; Eugene Hernandez, editor in chief and cofounder of indieWire.com; and Florence Almozini, BAMcinématek program director, film professionals who bring foreign films to New York screens or write about them in the media.


The program highlights include films that appeared in the line-ups of major international film festivals such as Delta, California Dreamin' (Endless), Blind Loves, Il Divo, La France, All Is Forgiven, and Import/Export, which were all presented in competition or in other sections of the Cannes International Film Festival. Among the official selections at the Toronto IFF were most of the above titles as well as Forever Never Anywhere, Yella, and The Session Is Open. Several of the screened films have also been distributed in American cinemas and were cited on best lists of critics and on indieWire.com's list of best distributed and undistributed films. Details on each film follow the screening schedule.


Disappearing Act schedule

All films in original languages with English subtitles unless noted otherwise.


Thu, April 16

6:30 pm Tobruk (dir. Vaclav Marhoul, 2008, Czech Republic)

followed by Q&A with the director

Reservation for Tobruk


8:30 pm Opening Party with screening of short film Plastic Bags (Kese/Tasky, dir. Milos Tomic, 2007, Serbia/Czech Republic)

Reservations for opening party


Fri, April 17

6:30 pm Panel Discussion: "European Cinema from New Wave to New Wave," with Richard Pena and guests

Reservations for panel discussion


8 pm Delta (dir. Kornel Mundruczo, 2008, Hungary)


Sat,  April 18

11 am  Vaclav (dir. Jiri Vejdelek, 2007, Czech Republic)

1 pm It's Me, Now (Teraz ja, dir. Anna Jadowska, 2006, Poland)

3 pm Blind Loves (Slepe lasky, dir. Juraj Lehotsky, 2008, Slovakia)

6 pm Forever Never Anywhere (Immer nie am Meer, dir. Antonin Svoboda, 2007, Austria)

8 pm Girls (Lanyok, dir. Anna Faur, 2007, Hungary)

followed by Q&A with the director


Sun, April 19

1 pm Vacation (Ferien, dir. Thomas Arslan, 2007, Germany)

3 pm La France (dir. Serge Bozon, 2007, France)

followed by Q&A with the director

5:30 pm Music (Muzika, dir. Juraj Nvota, 2008, Slovakia)

8 pm Il Divo (dir. Paolo Sorrentino, 2008, Italy)


Mon, April 20

8:45 pm The Paper Will Be Blue (Hirtia va fi albastra, dir. Radu Muntean, 2006, Romania)


Tue, April 21

6:30 pm Yella (dir. Christian Petzold, 2007, Germany)

8:15 pm Scratch (Rysa, dir. Michal Rosa, 2008, Poland)


Wed, April 22

6:30 pm All Is Forgiven (Tout est pardonne, dir. Mia Hansen-Love, 2007, France)

8:30 pm Import/Export (dir. Ulrich Seidl, 2007, Austria)


Thu, April 23

6:30 pm The Session Is Open (L'udienza e aperta, dir. Vincenzo Marra, 2007, Italy)

8 pm California Dreamin' (Endless) (California Dreamin' (Nesfarsit), dir. Cristian Nemescu, 2007, Romania)



Film Descriptions (in screening order):


Tobruk (2008, Czech Republic), 100min; in Czech, Slovak, Polish, German and English, sneak preview

Directed, written and produced by Vaclav Marhoul

With Jan Meduna, Petr Vanek, Martin Nahalka and Robert Nebrensky

A humanistic story about Czech soldiers in exile who fought on the side of the Allies against Nazis and Fascists in the infamous battle of Tobruk in North Africa during WWII. A naïve young soldier joins the Czech troops. He soon finds out that there is only a very thin line between heroism and cowardice. Courage is the will power, which no man has enough to spare. When used, it is soon exhausted.

Screening followed by Q&A with the director


Screening as part of the Opening Party

Plastic Bags (Kese/Tasky, 2007, Serbia/Czech Republic), 4.5min; no dialogue

Directed by Milos Tomic

A love triangle between three plastic bags in a city park. Tomic, a Serbian PhD student of the Prague Film Academy, produced the film in the Belgrade studios of Dusan Makavejev, the legendary member of Yugoslav New Wave.


Delta (2008, Hungary), 93min; in Hungarian, sneak preview

Directed and co-written by Kornel Mundruczo

With Felix Lajko, Orsi Toth, Lili Monori, Sandor Gaspar

Mundruczo builds his tragic drama through quiet magnificent images of landscapes of the Danube Delta. Returning to his native village after a long absence, a nameless man builds a house on stilts in the middle of nowhere, aided by his half-sister whom he has just met, and ostracized by his mother and stepfather. Getting to know each other the siblings fall in love. Mundruczo's drama traveled world festivals from the main competition in Cannes to official selection at Toronto IFF. He made his name with previous films at Locarno IFF (Pleasant Days) and Cannes IFF section Un Certain Regard (Johanna). The screening of this film is part of Extremely Hungary, a yearlong festival of Hungarian art and culture in New York and Washington, D.C.


Vaclav (2007, Czech Republic), 100min; in Czech, sneak preview

Directed and co-written by Jiri Vejdelek

With Ivan Trojan, Emilia Vasaryova, Jiri Labus and Jan Budar

Vaclav is the village looser, bordering on autism and still living with his widowed mother. He's constantly fighting with his younger brother who's ashamed of him and wants him to be put in an institution. Their fight over a mistress has criminal consequences for Vaclav, who cannot be excused as the village-fool anymore.  The director made entrance to American festivals with his previous films Holiday Makers (Tribeca FF) and Roming (Toronto IFF). This film won two major awards at the Shanghai IFF.


It's Me, Now (Teraz ja, 2006, Poland), 85min; in Polish

Directed and written by Anna Jadowska

With Agnieszka Warchulska, Maciej Marczewski, Ewa Szykulska, Elzbieta Gruca

Hanna is a confused young woman who suddenly leaves home for no obvious reason: she just goes out to do some shopping and does not come back. She gets on a bus and sets off on a trip around Poland. Her partner Pawel searches for her all over. During these two identical and separate journeys, they meet strange and fascinating characters along the way - people just like them, who cannot find their place in the world.


Blind Loves (Slepe lasky, 2008, Slovakia), 77min; in Slovak, sneak preview

Directed and co-written by Juraj Lehotsky

Blind Loves is a non-fiction film about love between blind people. To find one's place in this world is not an easy thing to do for people with good sight, but how much more difficult it can get for somebody who is blind? The “view” of blind persons is often pure and essential, and very often witty. It uncovers new dimensions of meaning of happiness. Lehotsky's feature debut premiered at the Directors' Fortnight at the Cannes IFF and since was presented in and out of competition in numerous international festivals including the Toronto IFF.


Forever Never Anywhere (Immer nie am Meer, 2007, Austria), 88min; in German, sneak preview

Directed, co-written and co-produced by Antonin Svoboda

With Christoph Grissemann, Dirk Stermann, Heinz Strunk

Where there’s life, there’s hope. But what happens if hope is suddenly discovered to have been laid to rest years ago...? The story features three men trapped in their car after an accident on a remote road, who find out more about each other than they would ever be willing to consider... Director Svoboda is also a well-known producer of such successful titles as Darwin's Nightmare, Lovely Rita and Falling. This feature was among official selections at the Rotterdam and the Toronto IFF.


Girls (Lanyok, 2007, Hungary), 90min; in Hungarian, sneak preview

Directed and written by Anna Faur

With Fulvia Collongues, Helene Francois, Sandor Zsoter and Kornel Mundruczo

The film was inspired by a story of a true crime committed in Hungary: two teenage girls killed a taxi driver. The director presents the fairly typical surroundings of a generation for which sex and sexuality have a previously unknown meaning. The traditional roles and taboos are long forgotten, and gone are the shyness and sensibility associated with sensuality. The story follows two societies on the fringes: one of the two girls living as petty criminals and the other of taxi drivers with no smaller criminal intents. After her film school graduation/feature debut with Girls, director Faur was invited to the residency of the Cinefondation-Cannes Film Festival.

Screening followed by Q&A with the director


Vacation (Ferien, 2007, Germany), 91min; in German

Directed and written by Thomas Arslan

With Angela Winkler, Karoline Eichhorn, Uwe Bohm and Gudrun Ritter

During the course of the summer, several generations of a sprawling family come to a remote summerhouse. Things get off to a promising start with a pleasant round of long walks, swimming in the nearby lake, and family meals in the garden. But what looked like an idyllic sojourn is cut short when the grandmother falls seriously ill and needs to be cared for. Before long, the cracks in the relationship of the adult daughter's marriage begin to become increasingly apparent. Even more confusion is caused by the visit of another daughter who lives abroad. The film was presented at the Berlin IFF's Panorama special section and featured at other festivals as well.


La France (2007, France), 102min; in French

Directed and co-written by Serge Bozon

With Sylvie Testud, Pascal Greggory and Guillaume Verdier

In autumn 1917, during the height of the war, Camille leads a peaceful existence in the northeast of France, until she receives an unexpected letter from her husband who left for the front. That same day, the young woman decides to leave home disguised as a man, secretly hoping to find her husband again. Through a chance meeting in a forest, she succeeds in blending in with a small group of soldiers who have no idea of her true identity. A winner of Jean Vigo Award, the film was selected for the Directors' Fortnight at the Cannes IFF and presented as part of the New Directors/New Films in New York where the NY Times Manohla Dargis praised it as pleasurable and mysterious and "a WWI movie like none other" where soldiers break mid-sentence into melodic riffs on a 1960s pop song.


Music (Muzika, 2008, Slovakia), 110min; in Slovak, sneak preview

Directed by Juraj Nvota

With Lubos Kostelny, Tana Pauhofova, Dorota Nvotova and Jan Budar

Slovakia sometime in the 1980s, not far from a big city, just a few steps from the border of an evil capitalist country and in a place where all roads turn back to the numbing building of socialism – there begins a funny and blackish story about a man who hoped that his music would help him escape but who did not succeed. Director Nvota belongs to the mainstays of Slovak narrative cinema and his latest feature marked unprecedented box office success in his home country with numerous national awards and festival participations.


Il Divo (2008, Italy), 110min; in Italian

Directed and written by Paolo Sorrentino

With Toni Servillo, Anna Bonaiuto, Piera Degli Esposti and Paolo Graziosi

A difficult subject – the darkest chapters of Italian politics, which were never truly closed – told through a free and highly modern cinematic language. A portrait of the calm, ambiguous, inscrutable Andreotti who was a synonym of power in Italy for over four decades. At the beginning of the nineties, without arrogance or humility, immobile, ambiguous and reassuring, he advances relentlessly towards his seventh mandate as Prime Minister. The film premiered in the official competition at the Cannes IFF where it won jury award and traveled world festivals including the Toronto IFF.


The Paper Will Be Blue (Hirtia va fi albastra, 2006, Romania)

Directed by Radu Muntean

With Paul Ipate, Adrian Carauleanu, Dragos Bucur and Alexandru Potocean

The story takes place in the confusion of the long night-day-night of December 22, 1989, the moment of Ceausescu's overthrow and the uncertainty of its immediate aftermath. With no one sure who's running the country or whether a counter-coup has restored the dictator to power, an armored military unit hunkers down in a quiet Bucharest suburb, awaiting orders but mainly trying to stay out of trouble. A gripping, taut rendition of the birth pangs of contemporary Romania, the film is history from the ground up – an  attempt to re-create historical events as they were lived by the average Romanian. Presented in competition at the Locarno IFF. Muntean's newest feature Boogie, which premiered at Directors' Fortnight at Cannes IFF, marks another success for the young director. The screening will be introduced by Mihai Chirilov, film critic and director of the Transylvania International Film Festival.


Yella (2007, Germany), 89min; in German

Directed and co-written by Christian Petzold

With Nina Hoss, Hinnerk Schonemann, Devid Striesow and Barbara Auer

Yella is estranged from her possessive and violent husband, but he can't quite bring himself to give her up. When the couple's fraught interaction finally comes to a dramatic conclusion, Yella's life takes an odd shift. She moves across Germany to find work in an effort to escape her disintegrating marriage, but has a hard time getting rid of her past. The film competed at the Berlin IFF, where it won the Silver Bear for Best Actress. Petzold's newest feature Jerichow – featuring the same leading actress – was in official competition at the Venice IFF and other festivals. Petzold has been described as the rising star of German auteur film.


Scratch (Rysa, 2008, Poland), 89min; in Polish, sneak preview

Directed by Michal Rosa

With Jadwiga Jankowska-Cieslak, Krzysztof Stroinski, Ewa Telega, and Ryszard Filipski

It's present day in Krakow. The central couple lives a satisfied married life for 40 years until the wife discovers a dark page in her husband's past through a videotape that holds an interview about the work of Polish state security in the 1950s and '60s. She refuses to believe her husband is guilty and sets on a quest to find out the truth. The director describes the story as about original sin and that mercy is not compulsory. The film received several national awards including the award for best screenplay.


All Is Forgiven (Tout est pardonne, 2007, France), 105min; in French and German

Directed and written by Mia Hansen-Love

With Marie-Christine Friedrich, Paul Blain, Carole Franck and Constance Rousseau

A film in three parts starts in Vienna in 1992 with two 30 year-olds, Victor and Annette, and their young daughter Pamela. In spite of Victor’s drug addiction, the family manages to stay together and Annette hopes that their departure for Paris will improve the situation. However, in France, everything goes downhill and the couple breaks up. Victor falls in love and moves in with a young woman who supplies him with drugs, while Annette leaves him and disappears with their daughter. Twelve years later, Pamela discovers that her father still lives in Paris and decides to go to see him. Among other festivals the film was presented at the Directors' Fortnight at the Cannes IFF and at the Rotterdam IFF.


Import/Export (2007, Austria), 136min; in German and Ukrainian

Directed and co-written by Ulrich Seidl

With Ekaterina Rak, Natalja Baranova, Paul Hoffman, and Michael Thomas

One film about two fates. One is about Olga, a young nurse from the Ukraine. The other one is about Paul, a young hooligan from the Viennese suburbs. Both are unemployed, both are living on the edge of society. She believes that she will find her luck in the West, whereas he ends up in the East in the pursuit for love, happiness and a meaning of life. The latest feature from the director of Dog Days and Jesus You Know was presented in the official competition at the Cannes IFF and at the Toronto IFF among other festivals.


The Session Is Open (L'udienza e aperta, 2007, Italy), 75min; in Italian

Directed by Vincenzo Marra

As if a companion piece to the current Italian film sensation Gomorrah, this documentary is a record of one day in the courthouse of Naples: the protagonists are a 70 year old justice of appeal, his associate judge, a vivacious and friendly 45 year old woman, and the greatest criminal lawyer in all of Naples. They are all involved in resolving a judicial proceeding on a camorra killing case. The film was presented at the Venice Days accompanying the official program of the Venice IFF and at the Toronto IFF. Director Marra's previous film Vento di Terra was also a favorite of international festivals including Venice, Cannes and Toronto IFF.


California Dreamin' (Endless) (California Dreamin' (Nesfarsit) 2007, Romania) 155min; in Romanian and English

Directed and co-written by Cristian Nemescu

With Armand Asante, Razvan Vasilescu, Maria Dinulescu, and Jamie Elman

This raucously dark comedy centers on a trainload of US marines bound for an important mission in Kosovo in 1999, until a corrupt stationmaster holds them on a customs technicality in a Romanian backwater. Welcoming them with open arms, the locals see their unexpected guests as tickets to political power, financial advantage, or romance. As the days drag on, however, patience wears thin and sparks fly.  Director Nemescu tragically died before the final edit of the film (hence the word "endless" in the title). His feature debut nonetheless received premiere and an award in the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes IFF and traveled the world festivals including Toronto IFF. The screening will be introduced by Mihai Chirilov, film critic and director of the Transylvania International Film Festival.



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From: Apr 16, 2009 12:00 AM
To: Apr 23, 2009 12:00 AM


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