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30 Jan 2020 19:00

Havana + Q&A with director Jana Bokova and BBC producer and presenter Alan Yentob

This extraordinary documentary about life in Cuba opens with 16mm amateur footage of Fidel Castro’s triumphant revolution in 1959 moving between the pre-revolutionary past and the volatile present of Castro’s Cuba in 1989. Featuring an interview with the exiled Cuban poet Reinaldo Arena, and a direct inspiration for Julian Schnabel’s film Before Night Falls, Havana consists above all of residents talking about their homes, their city and Cuba in the midst of Havana’s dilapidated, ruined beauty. Striking, haunting images are punctuated by voice-over poetry by leading writers and stories of artists and ordinary Cubans, young and old such as an elderly lady who fell through the floor in her derelict building, a poet seeking for his identity, and a woman who would never again see her ageing mother, exiled in America. Full of captivating music and Bokova’s understanding of life under communism and in exile this is a wonderfully lyrical and honest hommage to Havana and its people.

UK – BBC Arena, 1990, 105´, English subtitles

This is a remarkable document of a city, its people, their hopes and their hardships. 
Victoria Segal, The Sunday Times

Followed by Q&A with director Jana Bokova and BBC producer and presenter Alan Yentob

Film director Jana Bokova has been living between London, Paris and Buenos Aires since 1968 making films in four countries and four languages – English, French, Spanish and Czech.   Czech-born Bokova left her home country in 1968 at the time of the Soviet invasion and continued her studies in Paris, where she gained a doctorate in Fine Arts, specialising in photography and the Surrealists. She then worked in the USA, contributing to Rolling Stone magazine as a photographer, and subsequently became a film student at the National Film School in England debuting as a film director in 1975 with the critically acclaimed Militia Battlefield. She made films regularly for the BBC arts series Omnibus and Arena, winning many international awards.  Amongst her impressive list of more than 20 documentaries are:  Just One More War (1977), Marika and Marevna (1977-78), Living Room (1978), I Look Like This (1979), Quinn Running (1980), Dallas: The Big Store (1981), Sunset People (1983), Havana (1989-90), Avignon (1999), Eric Clapton and Friends (2002), Tango Salon (2004) and Bye Bye Shanghai (2008). Bokova made the feature films Hôtel du Paradis (France, 1986), screened at the Cannes International Film Festival and Diary for a Tale (Diario para un cuento, Argentina 1998). The National Film Theatre in London ran a season of her early documentaries in (1979), which was followed by a full retrospective of her work at the Cinémathèque  Française, Paris (2002), National Film Archives, Prague (2012) and  Buenos Aires Museum de Cinema (2018). In 2012 Jana Bokova received a Czech award for cultural achievement.

Alan Yentob, a former BBC Creative Director, is a British television executive and presenter. After joining the BBC World Service as a trainee in 1968 he became a TV producer and director, working on the high-profile documentary series Omnibus. Yentob also helped to initiate BBC documentary series, Arena, of which he was the editor. He then worked as BBC's Head of Music and Arts; Controller of BBC2; Controller of BBC1; BBC Television Director of Programmes; Director of Drama, Entertainment and Children’s programming; and finally from 2004 until 2015 as BBC Creative Director responsible for overseeing BBC creative output across television, radio and interactive services. Since 2003 he has been also presenting a regular arts series, Imagine.

Doors open at 18.30.
Unreserved seating. Uncollected tickets will be released 10 minutes before the advertised start time.

Part of In Focus: Jana Bokova

The cinema is accessible through the reception of the Embassy of the Czech Republic in London, 26 Kensington Palace Gardens, London W8 4QY. Please note the entrance is on Bayswater Road.
Please note that the venue is not accesible to wheelchair users!




Czech Centre at the Czech Embassy Cinema, 26-30 Kensington Palace Gardens, Kensington, London, W8 4QY


30 Jan 2020 19:00


Czech Centre

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