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6 Mar 2009 00:00 - 4 May 2009 00:00

Made in Prague: The New Czech Cinema UK Tour

To celebrate the Czech Presidency of the EU Council a selection of the best Czech feature films and documentaries introducing the diversity of Czech culture and cinema will be launched on 6 March at the Curzon Renoir London and then tour the UK.

Czech cinema is famous for its comedies and there are three impressive examples in this new season. Jan Svěrák, the Oscar-winning director of ‘Kolya’ contributes arguably his best film with ‘Empties’, a sophisticated and low key story about the ‘new life’ of a retired teacher. Jan Hřebejk, Oscar-nominated for his ‘Divided We Fall’, presents an exhilarating and fast paced comedy of manners about career professionals in ‘Teddy Bear’, while Vladimír Michálek, in ‘Of Parents and Children’, provides a poetic and ironic tale of father-son relationships. In contrast to all of these, ‘Dolls’, a debut feature by Karin Babinská, is a gritty road movie in which three teenage girls embark on a sometimes tragic journey towards self-awareness. There are also two outstanding feature documentaries, Helena Třestíková’s ‘René’, recent winner of the European documentary of the year award, and Pavel Koutecký’s ‘Citizen Havel’, a unique and witty cinéma-vérité account of Václav Havel’s life as President. The season’s many perspectives are completed by two films from Jan Šikl’s series, ‘Private Centrury’, in which he charts Czech history through the eyes of amateur film makers.  


Peter Hames 


Download Made in Prague season brochure:


Press release





Long-term observation documentarist Trestikova brings another gem to the screen in this study of jailbird Rene Plasil. He has been in and out of jail all his life and Trestikova has been there to document it throughout. “Why has my shitty life turned out like this?” No one knows, not even God. The sheer raw authenticity of this work will impress even the most discerning documentary lover. Made between 1988 and 2008 with a slightly uncomfortable yet revealing closeness present between the subject and filmmaker, the film paints a portrait of Rene, who dreams of becoming a writer, and the director helps to make this happen. Intercepted by the realities of the pre- and post- communist Czech Republic, the film becomes more a document on documentary film and modern Czech society than purely a study of one man.

Czech Republic | 2008 | 90 mins | Director: Helena Trestikova | Starring: Rene Plasil | Czech with English subtitles

Curzon Renoir London - 6 March, 6.15 pm

Chapter Cardiff - 18 Mar

Cinema City Norwich23 March

The Ritzy London29 March

Duke of York’s Picturehouse Brighton4 April

Picturehouse at FACT Liverpool12 April

Arts Picturehouse Cambridge18 April

The Belmont Picturehouse Aberdeen23 April

Filmhouse Edinburgh - 3 May, 4 pm



Of Parents and Children


One of the Czech Republic’s most highly regarded filmmakers directs this comic yet poignant dialogue-driven drama of a father and son. A former scientist whose memory is burdened by two wars and other historical and private absurdities converses with his son over beer. They make merry over medical problems and the mysteries of women, with their discussion ultimately providing a cathartic airing of the guilt and anger each carries over long-remembered issues. Michalek creates a bittersweet comedy from a seemingly banal situation. The story is carried through the generations with flashbacks, from the family’s private past to major historical events of the 20th century. An intelligent, fresh and compelling film, one to see if nothing else for the wonderful walk through springtime Prague.


Czech Republic | 2008 | 112 mins | Director: Vladimir Michalek | Starring: Josef Somr, David Novotny, Lubo Kostelny, Mariana Kroftova | Czech with English subtitles

Curzon Renoir London7 March, 3.30 pm

Cinema City Norwich9 March

Harbour Lights Picturehouse Southampton15 March

Chapter Cardiff18 March

Greenwich Picturehouse London29 March

Tyneside Cinema Newcastle5 April

City Screen Picturehouse York7 April

Arts Picturehouse Cambridge11 April

The Belmont Picturehouse Aberdeen19 April

Filmhouse Edinburgh – 23 April, 5.45 pm (Part of the New Europe Film Festival)

The Ritzy London26 April



Citizen Havel

After the split of Czechoslovakia in 1992, former political dissident, leader of the Velvet Revolution, playwright and essayist Vaclav Havel became the first president of a new country, the Czech Republic. A former enemy of the state was given the popular mandate to transform that state and its institutions. Such events are not commonplace so, from day one, he permitted filmmaker Pavel Koutecky 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. We witness his endeavours to maintain a balance between public and personal life while bringing his nation out of its communist past and into a free, democratic future.

Czech Republic | 2008 | 128 mins | Directors: Pavel Koutecky, Miroslav Janek | Czech with English subtitles


Curzon Renoir London8 March, 2.30 pm

Cinema City Norwich16 March

Harbour Lights Picturehouse Southampton29 March

Greenwich Picturehouse London12 April

The Ritzy London19 April

Arts Picturehouse Cambridge25 & 26 April

The Belmont Picturehouse Aberdeen30 April

Filmhouse Edinburgh2 May, 4 pm
Chapter Cardiff19 March 



This much-anticipated debut from Babinska is a coarse coming-of-ager centred on three girls and one little brother. Iska, Karolina and Vendula are 18 and they’ve just left school. Denying their forthcoming maturity and the end to the blithe existence of their schooldays, they decide on a summer trip to Holland. When this is sabotaged by Iska’s younger brother, Vojta, they take him along and he becomes a witness to nude bathing, sexual experimentation and various identity crises, as well as a catalyst in the breakdown of their relationship. What we see is the painful process of uncovering the most profound truth in adolescence, reconciling oneself with it and finding the strength to start living according to it.


Czech Republic | 2007 | 99 mins | Director: Karin Babinska | Starring: Petra Nesvacilova, Sandra Novakova, Marie Dolezalova, Oldrich Hajlich | Czech with English subtitles


Picturehouse at FACT Liverpool9 April

Arts Picturehouse Cambridge12 April

The Ritzy London3 May

Greenwich Picturehouse London19 April

The Belmont Picturehouse Aberdeen19 April

Filmhouse Edinburgh - 25 April, 6 pm (Part of the New Europe Film Festival)



Teddy Bear

Following last year’s favourite Czech film BEAUTY IN TROUBLE, now Oscar- nominated Jan Hrebejk brings us this immensely likable star-studded intra-family comedy, TEDDY BEAR. Three childhood friends tackle issues of fidelity and fertility in their respective families in contemporary Prague. A gallery owner, a gynaecologist and a politician reveal secrets and changes within their marriages, and the story exposes the ways in which they affect the lives of others. The unfolding relationships are intermitted with slapstick comedy and scene-stealing cameos by Czech staples who will be recognised from the New Wave. However, the heroes of this tragicomic mosaic about friendship, love, sincerity and responsibility are today’s forty-somethings living in today’s Prague.


Czech Republic | 2007 | 98 mins | Director: Jan Hrebejk | Starring: Jiri Machacek, Tana Vilhelmova, Ana Geislerova, Ivan Trojan | Czech with English subtitles


Curzon Renoir London7 March, 6.15 pm

The Ritzy London8 March

Harbour Lights Picturehouse Southampton22 March

City Screen Picturehouse York29 March

The Belmont Picturehouse Aberdeen5 April

Picturehouse at FACT Liverpool11 April

Tyneside Cinema Newcastle19 April

Filmhouse Edinburgh22 April, 6 pm (Part of the New Europe Film Festival)

Greenwich Picturehouse London26 April

Arts Picturehouse Cambridge2 & 3 May





Winner of numerous festival audience awards and the highest grossing film in the Czech Republic to date, this is the latest film in a trilogy of metaphorical works about maturation from director Sverák (ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, KOLYA). The post-retirement antics of cantankerous Josef begin when he attempts to fill his days with various part-time jobs. He eventually finds himself happy in that beer-fuelled fixture of Czech supermarkets, the bottle return department. Josef begins to meddle in the lives of his customers and co-workers, ultimately neglecting his own relationships, but within this seemingly inhospitable place, he resolves what had been the root of all his unhappiness. There is a very distinct Czech voice here, about the challenge of relationships against the backdrop of unwanted societal change.


Czech Republic | 2007 | 104 mins | Director: Jan Sverak | Starring: Zdenek Sverak, Daniela Kolarova, Tatiana Vilhelmova, Jiri Machacek | Czech with English subtitles

Cinema City Norwich2 March

Curzon Renoir London8 March, 5.30 pm

Greenwich Picturehouse London22 March

The Belmont Picturehouse Aberdeen - 29 March

The Ritzy London5 April

Harbour Lights Picturehouse Southampton - 12 April

City Screen Picturehouse York19 April

Tyneside Cinema Newcastle26 April

Arts Picturehouse Cambridge2 & 3 May



With Kisses from Your Love & See You in Denver

Two archive films presented together to form a historical document more moving than any other. The first, WITH KISSES FROM YOUR LOVE, tells of a relationship that looked destined for happiness until it was thwarted by the circumstances of war and communism. The love letters written after the couple were separated are read out against family photos, revealing a short-lived golden age before the Second World War. SEE YOU IN DENVER documents the Cvancara family film distribution company, and is an apt reflection of the fate of Czechoslovakia during the 20th century. When American movies where banned, the family began to remake the films themselves in the manner of BE KIND REWIND. When 1968 finally came, they decided to emigrate to the States and visit the places they had seen in all those movies.

Czech Republic | 2007 | 102 mins (two films) | Director: Jan Sikl | Czech with English subtitles


Curzon Renoir London8 March, 12.15 pm

The Ritzy London15 March

City Screen Picturehouse York24 March

Duke of York’s Picturehouse Brighton4 April

Greenwich Picturehouse London5 April

Arts Picturehouse Cambridge19 April

Harbour Lights Picturehouse Southampton19 April

The Belmont Picturehouse Aberdeen19 April

Filmhouse Edinburgh4 May, 5.45 pm




Arts Picturehouse Cambridge
Box Office: 0871 704 2050 / www.picturehouses.co.uk


The Belmont Picturehouse Aberdeen

Box Office: 0871 704 2051 / www.picturehouses.co.uk


Chapter Cardiff

Box Office: 029 2030 4400 / www.chapter.org

Cinema City Norwich

Box Office: 0871 704 2053 / www.picturehouses.co.uk


City Screen Picturehouse York

Box Office: 0871 7042054 / www.picturehouses.co.uk


Curzon Renoir London

Box Office: 0871 7033991 / www.curzoncinemas.com


Duke Of York’s Brighton

Box Office: 0871 704 2056 / www.picturehouses.co.uk


Filmhouse Edinburgh

Box Office: 0131 228 2688 / www.filmhousecinema.com


Greenwich Picturehouse London

Box Office: 0871 704 2059 / www.picturehouses.co.uk


Harbour Lights Picturehouse Southampton

Box Office: 0871 704 2060 / www.picturehouses.co.uk


Picturehouse at FACT Liverpool 

Box Office: 0871 704 2063 / www.picturehouses.co.uk


The Ritzy London

Box Office: 0871 704 2065 / www.picturehouses.co.uk


Tyneside Cinema Newcastle

Box Office: 0845 217 9909 / www.tynecine.org





Organised jointly by the Czech Centre London, Picturehouse Cinemas, Curzon Renoir and Czech Film Center. Supported by the European Commission Presentation in the UK.






30 Kensington Palace Gardens
W8 4QY London
United Kingdom


From: 6 Mar 2009 00:00
To: 4 May 2009 00:00


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