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Mar 24, 2018 11:00 AM - 10:00 PM

Film Marathon 2018 – Masterpieces of Czechoslovak Cinema

Commemorate 120 years of Czechoslovak film, perhaps the richest and most visually striking of all Central European cinema. From the dynamic black and white classics by master directors to moving present-day features, follow the selection of 12 outstanding films surviving the test of time.

Saturday March 24, 2018
11AM - 10PM, at Bohemian National Hall

NO RSVP, Free event, First come first served

All movies are in Czech with English subtitles.


Director: Jan Švankmajer 

Runtime: 86 minutes

Genre: Fantasy

Year: 1987

Country: Czechoslovakia, United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland

11:00 AM in the Cinema  

When Alice follows the White Rabbit into Wonderland, a dream expedition begins into the astonishing landscape of childhood. Alice has to find her way through many dangerous adventures, which all ultimately lead to her trial before the King and Queen of Hearts. Czech animator Jan Švankmajer has presented a strikingly original interpretation of Lewis Carroll’s classic tale, creating a masterpiece of cinema. Švankmajer’s Alice remains true to the absurdity of Carroll’s original story, but it bears the stamp of his own distinctive style and obsessions. Combining techniques of animation and live action, he gives a new and fascinating dimension to the timeless tale of childhood fantasies. (Source: First Run Features)



Director: Karel Zeman

Runtime: 81 minutes

Genre: Fantasy, Sci-Fi

Year: 1958

Country: Czechoslovakia

11:30 AM in the Ballroom

A patriotic 1896 novel by Jules Verne inspired Karel Zeman to make one of the most internationally acclaimed movies in Czechoslovak history. The pacifist ideals associated with the story of the brilliant French scientist Professor Roch, whose inventions are coveted by the power-hungry adventurer Count Artigas, were brought to life on the big screen in 1958. Fortunately, the professor’s assistant, Simon Hart, uses all his wits and strength to rouse an unsuspecting world to defend itself. Zeman's unique work garnered interest particularly because of its stylish technical solutions, based on demanding special effects sequences, and by the combination live actors with painted backgrounds and animated passages. The film won the Grand Prix at EXPO 1958, and it was sold to 79 countries at the time of its release. (Source: NFA)



Director: Ladislav Rychman

Runtime: 92 minutes 

Genre: Musical

Year: 1964

Country: Czechoslovakia

2:00 PM in the Cinema

The film’s story revolves around an outdoor hop-picking student workers’ outing where two of its members – intellectual oddball Filip and charming, practical Hanka – paths cross. Serving as a counterpoint to love-struck youngsters is the pragmatic conformist Honza and a professor nicknamed Jana Ámosa, who set about trying to find out which female student has fallen for Filip. Despite inspiration by way of West Side Story (1961), Hop-Pickers retains a quintessentially Czech character. (Source: NFA)



Director: Martin Frič

Runtime: 95 minutes

Genre: Comedy

Year: 1939

Country: Czechoslovakia

2:30  PM in the Ballroom

This tragicomedy from 1939, directed by Martin Frič, is among the most popular Czech films of all time. The reason behind this is the intriguing protagonist Alois Novák, a seemingly vapid, married office clerk. Novák works at a travel agency, but once a month he spends an evening in the luxurious Orient Bar playing the seducer Kristian, always to disappear forever at the key moment when his enticed female prey is about to fall for his charms. Alois/Kristian have become an integral part of Czech pop culture and an iconic depiction of the country’s national character. (Source: NFA)



Director: Vojtěch Jasný

Runtime: 100 minutes

Genre: Fairy Tale, Satire

Year: 1963

Country: Czechoslovakia

3:30 PM in the 3rd Floor Screening Room

In a dual role, the much-loved Jan Werich portrays both the wise storyteller-castle warden and magician Oliva, who arrives in a small town with the beautiful artist Diana and a tomcat with magical powers. When the cat’s sunglasses are removed, the creature can unveil the true characters of the adult humans around him. Liars become tinged with purple, the unfaithful turn yellow, thieves turn grey, and the love-struck turn red. (Source: NFA)



Director: Juraj Herz

Runtime: 101 minutes

Genre: Drama

Year: 1971

Country: Czechoslovakia

4:00 PM in the Cinema

Oil Lamps is an adaptation of the novel by Jaroslav Havlíček. Set in the early 20th century, the main protagonist of the film is the wealthy thirty-something Štěpa Kiliánová, whose liberalism makes it difficult for her to find a suitor among her social circles in a small town. She ends up marrying her worldly cousin Pavel for whom she harbors a naive admiration despite knowing that he is merely interested in her dowry. It is only after the wedding that Štěpa finds out that her husband suffers from syphilis. Not only is she unable to have children, but she now also suffers from her husband’s physical and mental decline. (Source: NFA)



Director: Zdeněk Podskalský

Runtime: 99 minutes

Genre: Comedy

Year: 1969

Country: Czechoslovakia

4:30 PM in the Ballroom

One of the most beloved Czechoslovak films of the 1960s, Men about Town tells the story of a trio of married outdoor plasterers, who decide to have a night on the town. Following some bad experiences in the luxurious Diplomat Grill, they decide that they want to act just like the local Prague upper class society. Henceforth, Skopec, Petrtýl and Prouza get themselves evening wear and even complete a course in social etiquette and dance held by Professor Emeritus Dvorský. When the plasterers-cum-suave-gentlemen finally enchant three elegant beauties, the women have no idea that the men – similar to themselves – are just putting on an act. (Source: NFA)



Director: Jiří Krejčík

Runtime: 102 minutes

Genre: Drama

Year: 1960

Country: Czechoslovakia

5:45 PM in the 3rd Floor Screening Room

This psychological drama made by Jiří Krejčík in 1960 is one of the most acclaimed titles in Czech cinema. The film, which eschews the schematic norms of the time, is based on the murder of 16-year-old student Antonín Stočes who was arrested and executed during the backlash to the Heydrich Assassination for speaking out against Nazi despotism. Although the story focuses on the relentlessly heroic gesture of a class teacher toward three arrested students, it also finds room for the attitudes of the other members of small-town society. (Source: NFA)



Director: Saša Gedeon

Runtime: 99 minutes

Genre: Comedy

Year: 1999

Country: Czech Republic, Germany

6:15 PM in the Cinema

The film inspired by the title-hero of the novel "The Idiot" by Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky. František (The Idiot) never got to know or experience anything. He spent his adult life behind the walls of an asylum, so he only has a few first impressions of the world. He now returns to his only known relatives, but they don't really know of his existence. They know only their own lives and their relations, which are so web-like and complicated that František can’t help but become trapped in them. He gets involved in conflicts between lovers, siblings, and parents, lands in awkward, funny, and stifling situations, and becomes a witness to many partners´ maneuvering love conflicts and painful revelations. František feels for everybody and is touched by everything. He understands them better than they understand themselves; however, only the one who understands him can help him return. (Source: Negativ s r.o.)



Director: František Vláčil

Runtime: 165 minutes

Genre: Ballad, Historical

Year: 1967

Country: Czechoslovakia

7:00 PM in the Ballroom

In its native land, František Vláčil’s Marketa Lazarova has been hailed as the greatest Czech film ever made. For many U.S. viewers, it will be a revelation. Based on a novel by Vladislav Vančura, this stirring and poetic depiction of a feud between two rival medieval clans is a fierce, epic, and meticulously designed evocation of the clashes between Christianity and paganism, humankind and nature, love and violence. Vláčil’s approach was to recreate the textures and mentalities of a long-ago way of life, rather than to make a conventional historical drama, and the result is dazzling. With its inventive widescreen cinematography, editing, and sound design, Marketa Lazarova is an experimental action film. (Source: The Criterion Collection)



Director: Jiří Menzel

Runtime: 98 minutes

Genre: Comedy

Year: 1985

Country: Czechoslovakia

8:00 PM in the 3rd Floor Screening Room

My Sweet Little Village is one of the most popular Czechoslovak films of the 1980s. The main protagonists are the cooperative truck driver Pávek and his protégé, the mentally challenged young man Otík Rákosník. Pávek is angered by the constant mistakes of the silent youngster, and decides to get rid of him after the upcoming harvest. However, he discovers that the unhappy Otík has been offered a job in Prague by a corrupt politician seeking to benefit from the sale of the young man’s picturesque villa. This leads Pávek to realize that Otík belongs at home, in the village where everyone – despite his affliction – loves him. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1987. (Source: NFA)


Director: Gustav Machatý

Runtime: 85min 

Genre: Drama, Psychological

Year: 1929

Country: Czechoslovakia

8:30 PM in the Cinema

One rainy night, a railway station guard offers shelter to an elegant traveller who has missed his train. The young man of the world makes a big impression on the station guard’s daughter Andrea and that same night the girl succumbs to his seductions. In the morning, George leaves. After some time, Andrea discovers that she is expecting a baby. George continues to live his carefree life in the city, but when he receives a letter from Andrea saying that she is pregnant, all he does is send her some money. Andrea leaves for the city to give birth in secret, but tragically the child is still-born. She later marries a man, more out of gratitude than love. One day, while in the company of her husband, she meets George who tries to seduce her again. Soon the old longing awakens in her. (Source: NFA)





Bohemian National Hall, 321 East 73rd Street
NY 10021 New York
United States


Mar 24, 2018 11:00 AM - 10:00 PM


Czech Centre

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