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Program

12 Nov 2008 00:00 - 13 Dec 2008 00:00

Czech films at Winter Festival of Eastern European films in Edinburgh

A new film festival focusing on cultural and linguistic diversity in Eastern Europe includes works from Hungary, Poland, Serbia, Bosnia, Georgia, Slovenia and the Czech Republic alongside a major retrospective of the works of the father and son team Zdenek and Jan Sverak.


12/11 Something Like Happiness 5.45

28/11 Citizen Havel 5.45

29/11 Elementary School 1.00

1/12   Kolya 5.45

4/12   Empties 5.45

5/12   My Sweet Little Village 5.45

6/12   Ride + The Oil Gobblers 1.00

7/12   The Live and Extraordinary Adventires of Private 5.45

13/12 Dark Blue World 1.00

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12/11 Something Like Happiness 5.45
Bohdan Slama , Czech Republic, 2005, 102’

A poignant drama examining the intertwining stories of three childhood friends trying to find their place in life. Monika has a boyfriend in the US and plans to emigrate. Tonik loves her but lives with his aunt on a rundown farm. Dasa has two children. When Dasa suffers a breakdown and is confined to a psychiatric ward, they take charge of her children and it seems like a new start …Best Czech film 2005, Winner at the San Sebastian and Montreal film festivals in 2005. With Tatiana Vilhelmova, Pavel Liska and Ana Geislerova.

 

 
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28/11 Citizen Havel 5.45
Miroslav Janek, Pavel Koutecky, CZ/US, 2008, 120’
After the split of Czechoslovakia in 1992, former political dissident, leader of the Velvet Revolution, playwright, and essayist Václav Havel became the first president of a new country, the Czech Republic. Such events are not commonplace so, from day one, he permitted his friend, filmmaker Pavel Koutecký, to be with him, to capture as much of it as possible, whether in the Prague Castle or around the world. The result is Citizen Havel, a feature-length documentary of never-before-seen footage that provides an intimate look at a man thrust into the spotlight of international politics and celebrity, trying to maintain a balance between public and personal life while bringing his nation out of its communist past and into a free, democratic future.



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9/11 Elementary School 1.00
(Dir Jan Sverak / Scr Zdenek Sverak / Czechoslovakia

1991 / 100min)
WWII has just ended and Eda and his mates are back in a single-sex school in the Prague suburbs where they have given their teacher a nervous breakdown. New teacher Igor is half-dictator, half-hero and he quickly gets both their attention and their undying admiration, which is not altered by his philandering with the female population. Eda can’t help comparing Igor with his own seemingly unheroic father. Zdenek Sverak has created an autobiographical mosaic of his childhood memories, recalling the time when boys are still children but already perceive the adult world with great intensity. A fi lm full of humour, secrets and compassion for human weakness.




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1/12   Kolya 5.45

(Dir Jan Sverak / Scr Zdenek Sverak / Czech Republic-France-United Kingdom 1996 / 108 min)
The 55-year-old skirt-chasing bachelor Louka, a former cellist with the Czech Philharmonic, is reduced to playing at funerals. Struggling with debt he agrees to a marriage of convenience with a Russian expecting to see little of his new wife. However when she defects to the West to be with her lover, Louka is left to answer to the authorities as well as care for her fi veyear old son, Kolya. Not speaking each other’s language, it takes time and patience for the cultural barriers between this unlikely father-son duo to fall (the source of much of the fi lm’s humour) but when they do their place is taken by an unbreakable bond. Meanwhile the political changes of of 1989 are taking place around them.



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4/12   Empties 5.45
(Dir Jan Sverak / Scr Zdenek Sverak / Czech Republic-United Kingdom-Denmark 2007 / 104min)
In this comic love story about a man facing facing old age schoolteacher Josef finds he no longer understands his pupils and decides to resign. However, unaccustomed to a life of inactivity, he opts for a succession of part-time jobs, including cycle messenger and supervisor of the bottle return counter in a supermarket. He fi nds an interesting new world (supplemented by continuing erotic fantasies), from which his wife is excluded. Arguably the Sveraks’ best film, this sophisticated and perceptive comedy is full of the lowkey observation characteristic of the best of Czech cinema – unpretentious, involving, and apparently effortless. The biggest box offi ce success in the Czech Republic since the fall of Communism, Empties crosses the generation divide with its traditional narrative virtues and a characteristically taciturn performance from Sverak senior.


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5/12   My Sweet Little Village 5.45
(Dir Jiri Menzel / Scr Zdenek Sverak / Czech Republic 1985 / 87min)
At the heart of this comedy is a Laurel and Hardy-like pair; Otik, a simple minded trucker’s assistant, and his boss Pavek. Otik tries hard to please his exasperated partner who becomes the laughing stock of his mates thanks to Otik’s constant blunders. At the end of his tether, Pavek requests a different partner while Otik, hurt, accepts a job offer from a crooked politician who wants to get hold of his cottage. Having discovered the plot, Pavek comes to his friend’s aid. Further charm is added to this life-enhancing piece by the other village inhabitants - a doctor who regularly wrecks his car while admiring the scenery, a romantic teenager with a crush on a schoolteacher, and an adulterous housewife just one step ahead of her hot-headed husband.



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6/12   The Oil Gobblers 1.00

Dir Jan Sverak / Scr Jan Sverak / Czechoslovakia 1988 / 21min)
A team of scientists travels to Northern Bohemia to investigate a new animal species - Petroleus Mostensis, the mud-loving oil gobblers, in this inventive mockumentary. Awards: Student Academy Award for Best Foreign Film 1989.

SCREENED TOGETHER WITH THE RIDE.



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The Ride
(Dir Jan Sverak / Scr Martin Dostal, Jan Sverak / Czech Republic 1994 / 90min)

Disenchanted with their predictable lives, two thirtysomething buddies set off on a journey through the Czech countryside. They hope to bring some excitement into their routine by imitating their American heroes. Things get complicated when they are joined by a beautiful hitchhiker who is pursued by her jealous lover. The summery atmosphere darkens as the friends play with love and death. A homage to Easy Rider, this fresh and humorous road movie, supported by an excellent soundtrack from Czech band Buty, has achieved cult status among young Czech audiences.



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7/12   The Live and Extraordinary Adventires of Private Ivan Chonkin 5.45
(Dir Jiri Menzel / Scr Zdenek Sverak / Czech Republic-France-Italy-United Kingdom 1994 / 106min)
A grotesque tragi-comedy by Oscar-winning director Jiri Menzel based on the famous satirical Russian novel by Vladimir Voinovich. Prior to Russia’s entry into WWII Ivan Chonkin, private in the Red army and simple-minded Russian guy, is sent to guard a broken-down enemy plane in a remote village. Forgotten by everyone and unaware that Russia is now at war he eventually moves in with his lover Nura, the post-mistress. When his neighbours accuse him of being a spy it sets off a spiral of events reminiscent of Catch 22. Absurdity together with criticism of Stalinism and Soviet bureaucracy is revealed through comic encounters with representatives of the Secret Police and the Soviet army in Chonkin’s fi ght for justice.



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13/12 Dark Blue World 1.00
(Dir Jan Sverak / Scr Zdenek Sverak / Czech Republic-United Kingdom 2001 / 113min)

Two Czech pilots, Franta and Karel, escape Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia to join the Royal Air Force and fi ght in the Battle of Britain. Their love for the same woman (Tara Fitzgerald) is the ultimate test of their friendship. Stunning, frighteningly realistic aerial warfare sequences alternate with this love story, which is narrated by Franta from within a communist prison. Closely based on the real-life experience of Czech

fi ghter pilots, who survived the confl ict, only to be persecuted by the post-war Communist regime when they returned home, this is a romantic drama of heroism and self-sacrifice.



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Venue:

116 Long Acre
WC2E 9PA London
United Kingdom

Date

From: 12 Nov 2008 00:00
To: 13 Dec 2008 00:00

Organizer:


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