18 Oct 2008 00:00 - 26 Oct 2008 00:00
Czech Films at London Film Festival
The UK premieres of witty and personal documentary 'Citizen Havel', Petr Zelenka's unusual take on theatre and life 'The Karamazovs' and Vladimir Michalek's comedy 'Of Parents and Children' will be the highlights of Cinema Europea section at the 52nd year of the London Film Festival.
Citizen Havel (Občan Havel)
Wednesday 22 Ocober 2008, 20:30, NFT2
Sunday 26 October 2008, 14:00, TRICYCLE
A witty, considered and personal documentary with fascinating insights into the life of Václav Havel, the man who helped shape the early history of the Czech Republic.
After the split of Czechoslovakia in 1992 former political dissident, playwright and outspoken essayist Václav Havel became the first president of a new country, the Czech Republic. A former enemy of the state and leader of the Velvet Revolution, Havel was given a popular mandate to transform that state and its institutions. On taking his new office, Havel invited his friend the documentarist Pavel Koutecký to capture the birth of their new nation. Filmed over ten years, this understated, witty and considered documentary gives a fascinating insight into Czech politics and the man who helped shape the history of the new republic.
Covering a vast range of events from intense international debates, celebrity visits (including those of The Rolling Stones and Bill Clinton) and the routine of day-to-day politics, to unexpected personal tragedy, this is an intimate portrait of a politician and of a man. Koutecký died in 2006 and his friend filmmaker Miroslav Janek spent several years piecing together this engaging multi-layered portrait, which remains both a testimony to a charismatic leader and to an esteemed filmmaker.
The Karamazovs (Karamazovi)
Saturday 18 October 2008, 18:45, Curzon Mayfair
Tuesday 21 October 2008, 13:30, Odeon West End 1
Petr Zelenka's unusual take on theatre and life follows a group of Czech actors as they perform an adaptation of Dostoyevsky's novel in a Polish factory.
A Prague theatre company arrives in Krakow to present a stage adaptation of Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov at an alternative drama festival to be presented in a local steelworks. As rehearsals progress, we follow developments among the actors themselves as well as their interaction with a single worker who, as a surrogate audience, is drawn inevitably into the whole process. Dostoyevsky's themes of faith, immortality, and salvation cross borders as the film moves between its alternating perspectives.
Focussing on the trial scenes, the film examines the subject of patricide and the complicity of the three younger Karamazovs and the supposedly illegitimate Smerdyakov. Already hailed as the most notable Czech film of the year, Zelenka's film is typically ambitious, charting new possibilities with its use of former 'new wave' director Evald Schorm's now classic dramatisation. Described by Zelenka as a homage to acting, the film features Ivan Trojan, who worked with him on the stage and film versions of his last work, Wrong Side Up, as the older Karamazov.
Of Parents and Children (O rodičích a dĕtech)
Thursday 23 October 2008, 20:30, NFT2
Friday 24 October 2008, 13:30, NFT2
A retired scientist and his adult son reflect on life during their regular walk around the outskirts of Prague in Vladimír Michálek's attractive comedy.
Adapted from the award-winning novel by Emil Hakl, Vladimír Michálek's film tells of the relationship between a retired microbiologist (Josef Somr) and his 40-year-old son (David Novotný). Every week, the father gives a lecture at the zoo, and meets his son outside the penguin house for their weekly walk around the outskirts of Prague, passing through locations that evoke their own poetry and trigger a variety of reflections - on family life, childhood, women, and the absurdities of the modern world.
Focussing on this central situation, the film replays previous episodes in their lives, and develops a parallel story in which an illegitimate grown-up grandson (Luboš Kostelný) pays an unexpected call on his father's current girlfriend (Mariana Kroftová). Superbly acted by Josef Somr (the station guard from Closely Observed Trains) as the father and Novotný, it is a beautifully observed film, with witty dialogue, full of comic irony and poetry, and ideally complemented by Martin Štrba's sensitive cinematography.
116 Long Acre
WC2E 9PA London
From: 18 Oct 2008 00:00
To: 26 Oct 2008 00:00