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Made in Prague: Czech-o-Slovak Film Festival 2013

The 17th Made in Prague Film Festival explores the best of contemporary Czech and Slovak cinema, marking the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Czech and Slovak Republics. Altogether 12 Czech and Slovak features portray both societies then and now while raising important social and political issues. The festival also pays homage to its leading directors, representatives of the Czechoslovak New Wave Juraj Jakubisko and Jiri Menzel, who will come to discuss their films in person. Menzel´s Don Juans, fresh from its world premiere in Montreal is, together with the UK premiere of Agnieszka Holland´s excellent three-part film Burning Bush, amongst 7 UK premieres featured in the programme.

***For immediate release***

Made in Prague: Czech-o-Slovak Film Festival 2013

8 – 25 November 2013: The 17th Made in Prague Film Festival explores the best of contemporary Czech and Slovak cinema, marking the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Czech and Slovak Republics. Altogether 12 Czech and Slovak features portray both societies then and now while raising important social and political issues. The festival also pays homage to its leading directors, representatives of the Czechoslovak New Wave Juraj Jakubisko and Jiri Menzel, who will come to discuss their films in person. Menzel´s Don Juans, fresh from its world premiere in Montreal is, together with the UK premiere of Agnieszka Holland´s excellent three-part film Burning Bush, amongst 7 UK premieres featured in the programme.

The opening of the festival belongs to the Slovak cinema. Director Juraj Jakubisko will introduce the screening of his 1969 surreal utopia of free love and the search for happiness and freedom Little Birds, Orphans and Fools. Stylistically Jakubisko´s most dazzling work, it was seen as an allegory and immediately banned. Contemporary Slovak cinema will be represented by this year’s Rotterdam IFF winner Mira Fornay’s My Dog Killer. Shot in an observational style on authentic locations with a cast of non-actors, this is the story of one day in the life of an eighteen-year-old boy whose encounter with his estranged mother and his Romany half-brother leads to tragedy. Screened with a winning short from LA Shorts Fest 2013 Little Secret, the double bill captures the inherent racial tension present in today´s society. 

The Czech counterpart to Slovak cinema is represented by Jiri Menzel’s double bill. Menzel will present his 1969 Oscar-winning film Closely Observed Trains about a suicidal virgin railway employee who, oblivious to the war around him and with only one thing on his mind, still becomes an unexpected hero. This masterpiece of human observation is paired with the UK premiere of Menzel’s brand new film Don Juans, an inventive mix of comedy and drama set at a rehearsal of Mozart’s Don Giovanni.

The UK Premiere of Agnieszka Holland’s outstanding three-part docudrama Burning Bush is undoubtedly the highlight of this year’s programme. Starting with Jan Palach’s self-immolation in 1969, Holland, who studied film in Prague at the time, dramatically depicts the impact his sacrifice had on the social and political climate presenting a rich portrayal of the Czech experience at the beginning of Normalisation. The screenwriter Stepan Hulik and actress Tana Pauhofova will introduce and discuss the film, the Czech Republic’s entry for 2014 Film Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film.. 

Contemporary Czech and Slovak society and current issues are explored in a trio of documentaries. In Fragile Identity the Slovak director Zuzana Piussi, well known for the highly political documentaries for which she has faced imprisonment, examines her fellow countrymen’s current notions of nationality and raises concerns about its political misuse. On the other hand Vit Klusak and Filip Remunda, whose documentary style draws comparisons with Michael Moore, introduce in Free Smetana the bizarre case of the Czech bus driver jailed in 2012 for drawing antennae on politicians’ heads on pre-election posters. This brilliant example of investigative journalism exposing the Czech legal system will fuel the following discussion with journalists Edward Lucas (The Economist) and Ondrej Kundra (Czech weekly Respekt). Based on long-term observation and shot over a period of three years Adam Olha’s New Life of a Family Album screened as a part of the DocHouse series is an assured exploration of the life of a large family which falls apart after their father’s departure.

Partnering with the UK Jewish Film Festival the festival also presents the UK premiere of David Ondricek’s gripping crime thriller In the Shadow set in the politically sensitive 50’s while Janosik, the 1929 silent gem about the East European Robin Hood with live music accompaniment, will be part of the established Barbican Silent series.

Note to editors

1 To download full festival programme visit link http://london.czechcentres.cz/programme/travel-events/made-in-prague-london/

2 Participating venues in Made in Prague are: Barbican, Riverside Studios, Tricycle Cinema

3 Festival organized by the Czech Centre London in collaboration with Riverside Studios, Barbican, UK Jewish Film Festival and DocHouse.

4 Special guests: directors: David Ondricek (In the Shadow), Juraj Jakubisko (Little Birds, Orphans and Fools), Jiri Menzel (Don Juans), Adam Olha (New Life of a Family Album); screenwriter Stepan Hulik and actress Tana Pauhofova (Burning Bush);)

 

For interviews with visiting filmmakers, images, screeners and other press enquiries please contact:

Renata Clark, Czech Centre, 13 Harley St, London W1G 9QG

clarkova@czechcentre.org.uk tel: 020 7307 5182

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CzechCentreLnd

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/londonczechcentre

Web: http://london.czechcentres.cz/programme/travel-events/made-in-prague-london/

 

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