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Dec 16, 2012 3:00 PM

Kooky's Return


Kooky’s Return (Kuky se vrací), Directed by Jan Svěrák, 93 min., 2010
In Czech with English subtitles

The film combines techniques of puppet animation, stop motion and live action. It tells the story of a six-year-old asthmatic boy whose parents force him to throw away his favorite toy, an old teddy bear named Kooky. In the boy's fantasy, Kooky comes to life in the landfill, escapes into a mysterious forest and begins its journey amongst the rough-and-ready creatures of the forest.

Jan Svěrák
’s talent first attracted attention through his short film Space Odyssey II, a dramatic story of two retired women living on a snow-bound estate. Here he paid his first ironic homage to mainstream American commercial film genres. Jan’s ability as a filmmaker was confirmed by his “sci-fi ecology” documentary dealing with a “newly discovered species”, supposedly flourishing in the devastated region of what was then Northern Czechoslovakia. In 1989, Oilgobblers received the most prestigious prize in its category, the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Student Oscar® for the best foreign film.

Two years later Jan Svěrák completed his feature debut, Elementary School, the screenplay for which was written by his father, Zdeněk Svěrák, who also acted in the film. In 1992, this heart-warming period film set in post-war Czechoslovakia was nominated for the Academy Award® for Best Foreign Language Film.

Jan’s next movie was Accumulator 1, an action fantasy about television’s vampire-like capacity to suck out a person’s life-force and deplete their energy, which he wrote with Jan Slovák, a member of the theatre company Sklep. Zdeněk Svěrák worked with the two young authors on polishing the dialogue for the final version. At the time the film, with its budget of over forty million crowns, was the largest scale Czech production ever. It was awarded the Media Prize at the 1994 Venice International Film Festival and received the Grand Prix at the International Fantastic Adventure Film Festival at Yubari in Japan. On home territory the popularity of the film brought Jan Svěrák the Czech Lion Prize, awarded by the Czech Film and Television Academy for the most popular film of the year.

Jan Svěrák’s road-movie, The Ride, was also a big hit with audiences in the Czech Republic. He wrote the screenplay of this ultra low-budget film with his college mate Martin Dostál. As soon as it was released, the film acquired an almost cult status and for more than a year it was one of the top Czech box-office hits. The Ride received the Crystal Globe, the main prize at the 30th International Film Festival in Karlovy Vary in 1995.

Kolya, Jan’s first collaboration with Eric Abraham, was scripted by his father Zdeněk Svěrák, who also stars. His latest movie, Dark Blue World, premiered in the Czech Republic in May 2001. 

Jan is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Czech Film Academy. He is married with three children and lives in Prague.






321 East 73rd Street
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Dec 16, 2012 3:00 PM


Czech Center

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