NEW CZECH FILMS
BROOKLYN ACADEMY OF MUSIC, BAM ROSE CINEMAS, 30 LAFAYETTE AVENUE, BROOKLYN
For nine years in a row, new Czech films have been an annual recurring presence on Brooklyn screens. Co-curated by Irena Kovarova and organized by BAMcinematek and the Czech Center New York, the series is a part of the 2008 Czech Independence Day Celebrations.
All films in Czech with English subtitles.
Tickets: www.bam.org and 718-777-FILM.
A COUNTRY TEACHER (VESNICKÝ UČITEL) (2008) Directed by Bohdan Sláma. With Pavel Liška, Zuzana Bydžovská, Ladislav Šedivý. The teacher at the center of Sláma's story escapes from the capital city and a high school to teaching at grammar school in a small village in the rural South. He quickly befriends a young widow with a 17-year old son but does not respond to her romantic advances. A surprise visit of the teacher's ex-boyfriend creates havoc. The teacher's jealous actions set in motion a series of events that will test the inner strength and compassion of the teacher, his friend and her son to the breaking point. Sláma's talent at writing and directing potent and universal dramatic films was awarded at festivals around the world including San Sebastian IFF and the New York Film Festival for his previous feature SOMETHING LIKE HAPPINESS (ŠTĚSTÍ) which will also be screened as a sidebar to this series. NY Premiere! Q&A with Bohdan Sláma.
Wed, Dec 3 at 7:30 pm
NIGHT OWLS (DĚTI NOCI) (2008) Directed by Michaela Pavlátová. With Martha Issová, Jiří Mádl, Lenka Termerová, Jan Dolanský. In her second feature film Pavlátová, an accomplished animated film director, creates a visually compelling portrait of a 19-year old girl stuck in a bout of lethargy after a boyfriend leaves her for her best friend. Working night shifts in the family owned convenience store in an off-center neighborhood of Prague, the heroin does not register the tender feelings that her best male friend has towards her. She goes as far as pushing him away until a robbery in the store shakes up her insulated world. Issová and Mádl deliver strong performances as the young friends which brought them both main acting awards at the international premiere of the film in the main competition of the Karlovy Vary IFF. NY Premiere!
Fri, Dec 5 at 6:50, 9:15 pm
OF PARENTS AND CHILDREN (O RODIČÍCH A DĚTECH) (2008) Directed by Vladimír Michálek. With David Novotný, Josef Somr, Luboš Kostelný, Mariana Kroftová. Based on a critically acclaimed novel that reverberated with every middle aged reader, the story brings forth the perils of parenthood and relationships between adult sons and their aging fathers. On their regular walks through the neighborhoods of Prague, a forty-something man and his father share in a loving manner the highs and lows of their lives and their own relationship. Although the son ultimately forgives his father for leaving him behind with his mother when he was a fragile child, he's soon faced with his own demise when meeting a newly discovered adult son of his own. The film marks a welcome return of Somr a leading actor in many of 1960’s classics including CLOSELY WATCHED TRAINS and THE JOKE based on Kundera's novel and screenplay. NY Premiere!
Thu, Dec 4 at 7:30, 9:45 pm
Intro by actress Mariana Kroftova
EMPTIES (VRATNÉ LAHVE) (2007) Directed by Jan Svěrák. With Zdeněk Svěrák, Daniela Kolářová, Tatiana Vilhelmová, Jiří Macháček. The Oscar winning father and son, director-screenwriter duo follow-up on the bittersweet creation and success of KOLJA with their latest and possibly last collaboration. Shifting their attention to the freshly retired yet still energetic generation with rarely explored desires and pitfalls on film, the authors managed to enchant an often unaddressed audience. After leaving his teaching job for good, the retired yet still womanizing main hero denies himself and his wife the realization of the significance of their ailing marriage. For the aging couple, being cooped up together for an entire day in a small apartment is unbearable and the husband's comic efforts to make himself matter again at work and with women brings the relationship very close to an end. NY Premiere!
Sat, Dec 6 at 2, 6:50 pm
LOST HOLIDAY (ZTRACENÁ DOVOLENÁ) (2007) Directed by Lucie Králová. On the outset of the film, one of the filmmakers finds a bagful of undeveloped photo negatives on a highway in Sweden. Bringing them home to Prague and discovering they belong to a group of Asian men, the authors embark on creating a "detective documentary." Starting really from nowhere the hope of discovering who the awkward men are in the snapshots is almost lost many times throughout the film and it seems that the mystery will never be solved. The conclusion is however a refreshing confrontation with the recent history of the filmmaker's own country. NY Premiere!
Sat, Dec 6 at 4:30, 9:15 pm
TEDDY BEAR (MEDVÍDEK) (2007) Directed by Jan Hřebejk. With Jiří Macháček, Tatiana Vilhelmová, Klára Issová, Ivan Trojan. As prolific as Spike Lee and Woody Alan (whose example they gladly follow), the writing-directing duo of Petr Jarchovský and Jan Hřebejk yet again turned to contemporary Prague and complicated relationships. Unlike their other films (UP AND DOWN, BEAUTY IN TROUBLE, DIVIDED WE FALL) they spread the story among seven protagonists who were brought together by a childhood friendship of three thirty-something males. Starting off with three seemingly happy couples, the story evolves and strips down the appealing shared coziness of the group. Rash break-ups, unfaithfulness and longing for offspring are all at the core of trouble and no paths seem to be the right answer. Look forward for the "table scenes" that the authors superbly employ in almost all of their films. NY Premiere!
Sun, Dec 7 at 2, 6:50 pm
Also showing as a side bar:
SOMETHING LIKE HAPPINESS (ŠTĚSTÍ) (2005) Directed by Bohdan Sláma. With Tatiana Vilhelmová, Pavel Liška, Anna Geislerová. In a small town of an economically depressed region, a young man leaves behind his girlfriend when he goes to seek happiness (and a job) in America. She's hoping that he'd soon call for her. In the meantime she helps her unstable and self-destructive friend to care for her two small sons. With the support of a childhood friend (who's secretly in love with her) she creates a home for the toddlers when their mother ends up in a psych ward. No good deed goes unpunished and the fairytale like momentary happiness that almost leads to romance is halted by the mother's return. The film won the main prize at the San Sebastian IFF and was part of the New York Film Festival in 2005 (the first – and so far last – Czech feature film in the festival's program after 25 long years).
Sun, Dec 7 at 2, 6:50 pm