Česká centra, Czech Centres

Česká centra / Czech centres - logo


20 Sep 2015 - 24 Sep 2015

10 Years of Second Run featuring Markéta Lazarová and The Cremator

September 2015 marks Second Run's 10th Anniversary, an appropriate time to celebrate their work in bringing long-lost classics and undiscovered contemporary films to an UK audience. As part of the celebrations, Second Run have asked filmmakers to choose just one film that they love in the catalogue - and have come up with a selection of personal choices from a number of acclaimed filmmakers, including two gems of Czech cinema: František Vláčil's Markéta Lazarová and Juraj Herz's The Cremator.

Of the many films chosen by the filmmakers, the ICA has selected five for their week-long celebration which runs 19–24 September 2015. All the five films will be presented by the filmmakers and writers who selected them. Their choices represent a core selection of the Second Run catalogue, each film a special discovery to share with a new audience. Join in for the celebration. More information at:

MARKÉTA LAZAROVÁ selected and introduced by Ben Rivers
dir. František Vláčil, Czechoslovakia 1967, 159 mins, Czech with English subtitles

20 September 2015, 3.15pm
ICA, Cinema 1 | £7.00 to £11.00


"This burly, seething musk ox of a movie, arguably the most convincing film about the Middle Ages ever made, should be on everyone's tongue... manifests a vast, chaotic pagan world like no other film experience." Village Voice

"Without a doubt the best historical film ever made anywhere." Film Quarterly

Voted the best Czech film ever made, Marketa Lazarová is a powerful and passionate medieval epic set in the mid-13th century. Based on Vladislav Vančura's novel, it follows the rivalry between two warring clans, the Kozlíks and the Lazars, and the doomed love affair of Mikolás Kozlík and Marketa Lazarová.

Re-creating an authentic world and reminiscent of Tarkovsky and Kurosawa, this ambitious and multi-layered film is the crowning achievement of Vláčil's career and one of the great  cornerstones of world cinema.

Ben Rivers explains his selection:

Marketa Lazarová was a film I discovered thanks to Second Run - I saw a beautiful screening of the film, in all its CinemaScope magnificence. It immediately became one of my favourite films and has stayed with me as I have mulled over a particular, as yet unmade, film in my mind. The film has a fully achieved ambition on a level rarely matched - I thought Andrei Rublev couldn't be bettered for medieval recreation until I saw this film, which seems altogether more authentic in its dirt, mayhem and unending horror. And the wolves in the snow… “

I've been thankful to Second Run for their amazing series, introducing me to many wonders from Eastern Europe. Not only that, Second Run have been releasing some of the most important films from contemporary filmmakers, including three personal favourites from the past decade - Independencia by Raya Martin, Tropical Malady by Apitchatpong Weerasethakul and Our Beloved Month of August by Miguel Gomes."

Ben Rivers is a British filmmaker and artist. His first feature-length film, Two Years at Sea (2011) has won numerous international prizes. His other works include A Spell to Ward off the Darkness (2013), made in collaboration with Ben Russell, and his latest film The Sky Trembles and the Earth Is Afraid and the Two Eyes Are Not Brothers (2015) which premieres in competition at the Locarno Film Festival.


THE CREMATOR selected and introduced by Peter Strickland
dir. Juraj Herz, Czechoslovakia 1968, 95 mins, Czech with English subtitles

24 September 2015, 8.40pm
ICA, Cinema 2 | £7.00 to £11.00

“An enjoyably strange, undoubtedly original and occasionally terrifying film”
Channel 4 Film Guide

"(The film has) a formally inventive nightmare texture which is still striking almost four decades later" Senses of Cinema

"Herz's surreal political chiller... deeply unsettling" Time Out

Juraj Herz's film The Cremator has been described in many ways - as surrealist-inspired horror, as expressionist fantasy, as a dark and disturbing tale of terror.

This brilliantly chilling film, a mix of Dr Strangelove and Repulsion, is set in Prague during the Nazi occupation. It tells the story of Karl Kopfrkingl (Rudolf Hrušínský), a professional cremator, for whom the political climate of the time allows free rein to his increasingly deranged impulses for the 'salvation of the world'.

Winner of Best Actor (Rudolf Hrušínský) at 1972 Sitges Film Festival

Peter Strickland explains his choice:

“A friend bought me a DVD of Juraj Herz's The Cremator and from the opening seconds I fell under the spell of this curious mantra of death. There's too much to recommend: the brilliant detail and delirious wide angles of Stanislav Milota's cinematography, Zdeněk Liška's choral reveries, the brutal collage of the opening credits, Jaromir Janacek's wonderfully disconcerting editing and of course, Rudolf Hrušínský in elated form as the errant and suspiciously health-conscious Mr. Kopfrkingl, the titular Cremator. Both ludicrous and malevolent, The Cremator is an irresistibly septic meditation on death and the hideous lure of fascism. I've never seen a film display such morbid euphoria.

Second Run are a lifeline for anyone seeking out films mostly hidden from the Western radar. In only ten years, the label has acquired a staggering collection of breathtaking films from the Warsaw Pact countries, but also further east and occasionally right under our nose within the UK. Thanks to Second Run, I've become familiar with the work of visionary directors such as František Vláčil, Raya Martin and have rediscovered many more.”

Peter Strickland is an award-winning British film director and screenwriter. His films include Katalin Varga (2009), Berberian Sound Studio (2012) and The Duke of Burgundy (2014).



ICA, The Mall, London SW1Y 5AH


From: 20 Sep 2015
To: 24 Sep 2015


Remind me
This event has already started.