26 Oct 2005 00:00 - 3 Nov 2005 00:00
Czech Films at London Film Festival
Modernisation, industrialisation, alienation and displacement are just some of the themes touched upon in the Cinema Europa strand at the 49th The Times BFI London Film Festival (19 October - 3 November). Petr Zelenka will introduce his brand new film Wrong Side Up (Pribehy obycejneho silenstvi) and in the section there will be also screening of Shark in the Head, The City of the Sun and the winner of San Sebastian Film Festival Something like Happiness by Bohdan Slama. Those films will be also shown at The New Czech Cinema festival at the Riverside Studious in November.
Wrong Side Up (Příběhy Obyčejného Šílenství)
Oct 29, 4:30 pm Tricycle Cinema
Nov 3, 6:30 pm National Film Theatre / NFT3
Petr (Ivan Trojan) finds himself lost in a dead end job as an airport dispatch worker and his girlfriend has left him for someone with more elevated prospects. However, it appears increasingly that he may be the only sane person in the bizarre but undoubtedly normal world that surrounds him. His father (Miroslav Krobot), who used to provide the commentaries for Communist-era newsreels, disconcerted by the new realities, finds himself exploiting his former persona for artistic performances while his mother works obsessively collecting second hand clothes to alleviate the effects of war and catastrophe. Petr's boss has a sexual preference for shop window mannequins and Petr is soon supplementing his income as a paid observer to his neighbours' more intimate moments. The plot hinges on a chance phone call and a touch of black magic. Directed by Petr Zelenka (Buttoners) and based on his award winning stage play, 'Tales of Common Insanity', there's a touch of Buñuel, and a great deal of black and sarcastic humour.
Shark in the Head (Žralok v Hlavě)
Oct 26, 9:00 pm ICA Cinema
Nov 1, 4:00 pm National Film Theatre / NFT2
A lonely man lives on the ground floor of an old apartment building in Prague. He spends his whole day looking out of the window or, dressed in boxers and a sweatshirt, cigarette in hand, talks to passers by and examines the waste bins on the edge of the pavement. Most pass on hurriedly but some stop to chat. However, this harmless madman is soon to be moved to a 'rest home' for schizophrenics far away from the people he likes. This first feature film by animator Maria Procházková was inspired by a real situation and makes a spirited attempt to enter his imaginative world - perhaps no less rich than those about him. The street outside his window constitutes his world and is often presented in a simple almost graphic style recalling animation - and indeed, animation is occasionally used to convey his inner world and obsessions. Seemingly without family, he collects other people's discarded snapshots, draws birds, and makes toys. Made with humour and simplicity, Procházková's film is refreshingly different.
Something Like Happiness (Štěstí)
Nov 1, 4:15 pm National Film Theatre / NFT3
Nov 3, 8:45 pm National Film Theatre / NFT3
Set in a rundown industrial area of Northern Bohemia, where nature is tainted by the effects of acid rain, Bohdan Sláma's new film examines the intertwining stories of three families. Monika (Tatiana Vilhelmová) lives with her parents in an apartment block, has a Czech boyfriend in the US and plans to emigrate. Toník (Pavel Liška) lives in relative poverty with his aunt on the family's rundown farm. Daša (Aňa Geislerová) also lives in the block together with her two small children. Monika works in a supermarket, her father is out of work, and her mother works shifts. Tonik's father works in the factory. While no one laments the past, there appears to be precious little personal or economic satisfaction in the present. Yet Monika and Tonik, former childhood friends, are decent people and, when Daša suffers a breakdown and is confined to a psychiatric ward, they look after her children. Sláma's script and direction provide a deeply felt insight into his characters and hold up a sharp mirror to a society where, as Monika's US-based boyfriend puts it, he could never live again, where people have a special talent for ruining their lives.
The City of the Sun (Sluneční Stát)
Oct 20, 6:30 pm National Film Theatre / NFT3
Oct 21, 4:15 pm National Film Theatre / NFT2
Set in the North East industrial town of Ostrava, an area of high unemployment, four friends decide to go into business for themselves when they are laid off following the privatisation of their works. Karel, Vinco, Tomáš, and Milan pool resources to buy a lorry and find themselves buying second hand goods, transporting sheep, robbing a church, and even acting as bailiffs. The characters of the four men, both Czechs and Slovaks, are strongly drawn and acted, and they maintain a camaraderie throughout their experiences. But, in the new society, certain values are difficult to sustain - solidarity and morality are early casualties and changing masculine roles have their inevitable impact on family life. Boldly labelled a 'Czecho-Slovak' production, the film has a predominantly Slovak production team with Martin Šulík, best known for his folk-inspired The Garden and the experimental The Key to Determining Dwarfs, here turning his hand to an almost Loachian-style drama. But the film has a quirky and ironic humour that is very much its own.
116 Long Acre
WC2E 9PA London
From: 26 Oct 2005 00:00
To: 3 Nov 2005 00:00