Nov 14, 2007 12:00 AM - Nov 18, 2007 12:00 AM
New Czech Films
November 14-18, Brooklyn Academy of Music, BAM Rose Cinemas, 30 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn, Tickets: www.bam.org and at 718.777.FILM
New Czech Films 2007
Brooklyn Academy of Music, BAM Rose Cinemas
30 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn
Tickets: www.bam.org and at 718.777.FILM
For the eight year in a row, the Czech Center and BAMcinématek present a survey of current Czech cinema in a series titled “New Czech Films” as part of the Czech Independence Day Celebrations. This year is bigger than ever with exceptional guests and film selection.
Co-curated by Irena Kovarova.
All films in Czech with English subtitles.
I Served the King of England (Obsluhoval jsem anglického krále, 120 min), 2006, dir. Jiří Menzel
Q&A with Jiří Menzel, NY Premiere!
With Oldřich Kaiser, Ivan Barnev, Julia Jentsch
In what is now his sixth Bohumil Hrabal adaptation, Jiří Menzel who received an Oscar for his feature debut Closely Watched Trains in 1966 and another nomination for the comedy My Sweet Little Village in 1985, tells the story of the “little big man” who somehow always manages to avoid the hazardous pitfalls of Central European history. In the early 1960s, aging Jan Dítě is released from Communist prison, where he spent almost 15 years for “being a millionaire”. He settles in the borderland working as a road mender and reflects upon his former life… as a young man, the diminutive Dítě works his way up from selling sausages to being hired as a waiter in a pub, he then moves on to famous Prague hotels; he is taught the skills of his trade by head waiter Skřivánek, who once served the King of England. Dítě is then given the chance to serve the Abyssinian emperor and receives a medal from him. His dream of owning a luxury establishment and finding a wife paradoxically comes true thanks to his collaboration with the Nazis. After the triumph, however, comes the inevitable fall, yet this brings with it a sense of mature wisdom.
Rules of Lies (Pravidla lži, 119 min), 2006, dir. Robert Sedláček
With Jiří Langmajer, David Švehlík, Martin Stránský, Martin Trnavský, Klára Issová
A successful documentary film director Sedláček based his feature film debut on a study of a real life community that he filmed for his documentary Long Hangover (2003). The story follows a young man who decides to tackle his drug addiction by undergoing group therapy as part of a community holed up on an isolated farm in Czech mountains. Twelve people, men and women of varying ages and social status, voluntarily subject themselves to a tough regime under the supervision of three therapists. Many of them have stared death in the face already – overdoses, suicide attempts, and aggression heightened by the use of hard drugs, outwardly affecting even the strongest of them. Each brings something of his past into the group, which he has to experience again, both for himself and for those assembled. Past anguish, wrongs and guilt give rise to new problems: in this thickening atmosphere of suspicion and lies, who can still be trusted?
Beauty in Trouble (Kráska v nesnázích, 110 min), 2006, dir. Jan Hřebejk
Q&A with Jan Hřebejk
With Aňa Geislerová, Jana Brejchová, Jiří Schmitzer, Josef Abrhám, Roman Luknár,
In their sixth feature-length film, screenwriter Jarchovský and director Hřebejk touch upon complex inter-personal relationships in modern Czech society. The heroine of this love story inspired by the poem of the same name by Robert Graves, is an ordinary young woman, who has to decide between two men: her undeserving but passionate husband, and an affable, well situated elderly foreigner. The elegant Czech-Italian represents a secure future for her and her two children, and if good sense were guiding her, she wouldn’t hesitate. A central role is also given over to the heroine’s complicated family relations. Using a simple plot reminiscent of a story from a dime novel, the experienced filmmakers develop an intricate genre piece with an unexpected ending.
Dolls (Pusinky, 90, 94 or 99? min), 2007, dir. Karin Babinská
With Marie Doležalová, Sandra Nováková, Petra Nesvačilová, Oldřich Hajlich
A road movie featuring three young girls who are constantly being told to grow up. They do not want to end up living out stereotypes, however. They have their last school holidays all planned out - Holland, a farm, meadows, cows, freedom. They want to have fun and occasionally - maybe - work a little. They are in no hurry to enter the prison of responsibility, into a world where, despite of all its rules, confusion reigns anyway. They stop pretending to be quiet, gentle and fragile beings and let loose their bottled up feelings. While shedding the pretence, their relationships unravel bringing along a true freedom to be who they really are. Director Babinská’s feature debut won a critical acclaim and an award for the best Czech film of the year.
Grandhotel (95 min), 2006, dir. David Ondříček
*Q&A with director David Ondříček (??) and actress Klára Issová, NY Premiere!
With Marek Taclík, Klára Issová, Jaroslav Plesl
At the top of Ještěd mountain above the town of Liberec the weather changes every minute, while 30-year-old oddball Fleischman, who works as a maintenance man for the local hotel, also maintains his own opinions, whatever the weather. He shuts himself off in his own little world, where it seems the only thing which interests him is meteorology. In reality, he is desperate to leave the confines of his native town. Then the timid new chambermaid Ilja unexpectedly enters his life. She has passively succumbed to the whims of her ambitious lover for too long. The screenplay for David Ondříček’s tragicomedy was penned in collaboration with Jaroslav Rudiš, who wrote the novel of the same title. The film, makes use of the unique atmosphere of the futuristic, award winning architecture of the Ještěd hotel, and is one of two films in this series that feature promising actress Klára Issová.
One Night in a City (Jedné noci v jednom městě, 75 min), 2007, dir. Jan Balej
What could happen in one city during a single night? You’ll find people caring more for their weird pets than their partners or neighbors, and a tale of the strange friendship between an old apple tree and a fish which assumes a myriad forms with the changing seasons. You’ll see an accordion player who has no ear for music who decides to resolve his awkward situation once and for all, an infatuated man who, waiting in a café for his lover to arrive, encounters the ghosts of previous customers, and two drunks who come across a magic genie who makes his wishes come true. And let’s not forget the lamplighter and her faithful little dog… A mosaic of animated stories which director and artist Jan Balej and his crew filmed over a period of six years. These highly individual stories treating all kinds of themes conjure up an image of our own gloomy and bizarre world. Balej’s puppet microcosm isn’t a classic film for children: in its design and motifs, it’s more of an original spectacle for adults in the style of Jan Švankmajer.
Pleasant Moments (Hezké chvilky bez záruky, 108 min), 2006, dir. Věra Chytilová
With Jana Janěková, Jana Krausová, Boleslav Polívka
Věra Chytilová came to fame as one of the central directors of Czech New Wave. Her amazing feature Daisies (1966) is surely one of the best Czech films ever made. The central heroine of her latest feature, psychologist Hana, has problems in both her private and professional life: her unemployed husband is jealous of her work and, one day, he finds himself a “better” partner; her pubertal son is just interested in playing computer games. It doesn’t help that dozens of frustrated couples and lonely people pass through her clinic who – like Hana – are trying to find a sense of balance and happiness in a chaotic world governed by the war of the sexes, the loss of solid moral values and the relentless passing of time. Through her heroine, experienced filmmaker Věra Chytilová adopts a bitter yet humorous approach to track the collision of human relationships rooted deep in the destabilized heart of Czech society. “Filmmakers have certain obligations towards their era,” says Chytilová. “I’m trying to discover why we are incapable of taking a dispassionate view, why we are all self-centered. I hope that the film is a reflection of today’s society. We all have our own problems but we have to be aware that it is up to us to decide what we do with our lives.”
Marcela (82 min), 2006, dir. Helena Třeštíková
Třeštíková may be dubbed “Czech Michael Apted“ as many of her films (she made now over 40) are following their subjects over many years. Her film Marcela started in 1980 when Třeštíková set off to follow six newlyweds for several years. In 1987 they were presented as six short TV films entitled Marriage Etudes. Several years ago the director returned to the couples and filmed them again releasing six hour-long Marriage Etudes 20 Years On (2006), Marcela’s story among them: her problems with her flat and her mother-in-law, the birth of a daughter and a divorce two years later. Unraveling before our eyes is the authentic story of an ordinary woman in an inadequate social environment and a less than satisfactory relationship. Documentary filmmaker Helena Třeštíková was at Marcela’s side even at the most difficult time of her life. After her story was aired in February 2006, television viewers began spontaneously expressing their sympathy and so the film and her story continued... The film Marcela is a highly individual narrative, discreetly mirroring the transformations in Czech society over the last quarter of a century.
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From: Nov 14, 2007 12:00 AM
To: Nov 18, 2007 12:00 AM