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Program

17 Nov 2005 00:00 - 20 Nov 2005 00:00

New Czech Cinema

This selection of seven award-winning films demonstrates the continued vibrancy of Czech cinema. It includes the English premieres of Ondrej Trojan’s Oscar-nominated Second World War romance, Želary, and Jan Hřebejk’s sharply comic social commentary, Up and Down.

 

Like most of Hřebejk’s films, including Cosy Dens and another Oscar nomination, Divided We Fall, it was produced by Trojan, whose productions have dominated the Czech box office in recent years with their mixture of strong performances and intelligent screenplays.

 

The tradition of personal cinema is represented by Petr Zelenka’s Wrong Side Up, a black tale of ‘everyday insanity’, while Maria Procházková’s Shark in the Head, provides a charming portrait of the imaginative world of one who others classify as ‘mad’.

 

Wider observations of contemporary society are presented in Martin Šulík’s City of the Sun, an honest and humane account of the impact of economic change on the industrial city of Ostrava, and in Marek Najbrt’s compelling allegory Champions, a black story that juxtaposes the national obsession with ice hockey with a very different portrait of the fans who follow the exploits of the national team.

 

Finally, Petr Nikolaev reminds us of the Stalinist past with A Little Piece of Heaven, a romance rooted in the experience of the 1950s prison camps.

 

 

 

Programme:

 

 

Thu 17 Nov, Curzon Myfair

  

Up and Down / 6:30 pm

Jan Hrebejk / Czech Republic, 2004 / 108'

 

Interlinked tragi-comic stories, set mainly in Prague, make for a colorful jigsaw puzzle of people at various ages, education levels, opinions, beliefs and experiences. The pieces start to slot together when two refugee-smugglers end up with a two-month-old baby in their truck and sell it to a childless couple. Amongst those affected are the new parents and the family of a distinguished professor.  He (Jan Triska) wants to re-arrange his life - finally divorce his legal wife Vera (Emilia Vasaryova) and marry his live-in lover who used to be his son’s girlfriend.  The combination of a strong cast with the director’s remarkable insight makes these stories appealing to everybody. 

Winner of four awards (Best Film, Screenplay, Director and Actress) at the Czech Film Awards.

 

Q&A with Ondrej Trojan  

Curzon Mayfair, 38 Curzon Street, London, W1J 7TY

Box office: 020 7495 0500

Tickets £ 8.50 /5.50 concession members

 

 

 

Fri 18 Nov, Riverside Studios

 

From Sunday till Saturday / 6:30 pm

Sulik / Czech Republic, 2005, 5

A sad truth about working rhytm of our lives. Animation

 

City of the Sun / 6:35 pm

Sulik / Czech Republic, 2005, 93

Set in the industrial town of Ostrava, an area of high unemployment, four friends decide to go into business for themselves when they are laid off. They pool resources to buy a lorry and find themselves buying second hand goods, transporting sheep, robbing a church, and even acting as bailiffs. Despite misfortune and its impact on their family lives, the four men, both Czech and Slovak, maintain a camaraderie throughout their experiences. An almost Loachian-style drama, the film has a quirky and ironic humour that is very much its own.

The Best Feature Film at Finale 2005

 

double bill £ 6.50

 

 

For the Wedding / 8:30 pm

Vaclav Blin / Czech Republic, 2002 / 4

An animated lyrics of a song by Kamil Jasmin

 

Wrong Side Up / 8:35 pm

Petr Zelenka / Czech Republic, 2004 / 107

Petr (Ivan Trojan) finds himself lost in a dead-end job deserted by his girlfriend. His father who used to provide the commentaries for Communist-era newsreels, 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' love making. The plot hinges on a chance phone call and a touch of black magic. Based on the director’s award winning stage play, 'Tales of Common Insanity', there's a touch of Buñuel, and a great deal of black humour.

 

double bill £ 6.50

  

 

Sat 19 Nov, Riverside Studios

 

Blues of Dead Men / 6.15 pm

Benjamin Tucek / Czech Republic, 1999 /6

A short film between dream and reality, swimming pool and bath tube and man and woman.

 

Champions / 6.20 pm

Marek Najbrt / Czech Republic, 2004 / 83

During the ice hockey World Championship fuelled by the prophetic visions of an alcoholic, the self-obsessed fans – the owner of a failed pub; a bigoted invalid, Jarda; the neurotic Pavel; Josef (who hopes his father wasn’t a Roma); and the bus driver follow a much less successful course than the national team. A clever and multi-levelled black comedy which reveals a world of alcoholism, debt, racism, bigotry, and infidelity and provides a sharp antidote to the reconciliatory charms of the conventional Czech comedy.

 

double bill £ 6.50

 

 

Zelary / 8.05 pm

Ondrej Trojan / Czech Republic, 2003 / 150

The story, a true one, tells of Eliska, a sophisticated medical student, working as a nurse at a Prague hospital where her fiance is a surgeon. Both are members of a Resistance cell, for whom Eliska acts as a courier. One day, she discovers that her fiance has fled and her life is in danger. She is persuaded to travel with one of the patients whose life she saved to his home in the mountains. Ondrej Trojan's film depicts the culture shock of leaving the city for a rural existence, which involves a change of name, marital status and social aspirations. Eliska becomes Hanna, weds the man she nursed and integrates with the community. Surprisingly the story soon evolves into a romance and then aspects of war burst upon their peaceful idyll. 

Academy Award Nomination for the best foreign film.

 

Q&A with Ondrej Trojan / 10:35 pm

Ondrej Trojan made his debut feature Let’s All Sing Around in 1990 and produced a number of feature films, including Big Beat (1993), Cosy Dens (1999), Divided We Fall (2000) and Pupendo (2003) by Jan Hrebejk and Out of the City (200) by Tomas Vorel. Zelary (2003) is his second feature.

 

double bill £ 6.50

 

 

Sun 20 Nov, Riverside Studios

 

A Celebration of Vecernicek / 2.30 pm

Czech Republic 1964 - 2002, 77’

A selection of the best loved bedtime stories including Maxidog Fik, Bob and Bobek, Mach and Sebestova for under fives. (Czech speaking audience only).

 

tickets £ 3.50 adults, children free

 

 

Pictographs / 4.15 pm

Maria Prochazkova / Czech Republic, 2000 / 10'

An animated documentary – a poetic picture collage about one day in a large city.

 

A Shark in the Head / 4.25

Maria Prochazkova / Czech Republic, 2005 / 75'

A lonely man (Oldrich Kaiser) spends whole days looking out of the window or, dressed in boxers and a sweatshirt, cigarette in hand, talking to passers by and examining the waste bins on the edge of the pavement. Most pass on hurriedly but some stop to chat. Inspired by a real situation, this is 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 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.

 

double bill £ 6.50

 

 

The Conscience, / 6.05 pm

Jan Bohuslav, Czech Republic, 2004 / 4'

A black and white metaphor about ‘blind’ justice and revenge.

 

A Little Piece of Heaven / 6.10 pm

Petr Nikolaev / Czech Republic, 2005 / 90'

A story of love between two young people who meet at the wrong time and in the wrong place – a Stalinist prison in the 1950s. Luboš and Dana fall in love at first sight, all the more poignant because of impossibility of fulfilment. Luboš is further embittered by the physical and mental torture inflicted on him by the warden who cannot forget that the young man had witnessed his humiliation. Despite the ever-present persecution and death, thanks to their fellow prisoners the lovers manage to consumate their love. Based on a true story, this is more than a political statement, it is primarily a love story that shows how love and youth find their own way to fulfilment, however difficult the circumstances.

 

double bill £ 6.50

 

 

Letters from the Czecho / 8.05

Koutsky, Pavlatova, Barta / Czech Republic, 2005 / 10'

Three short animations inspired by the letters of Japanese children. Created for Expo Aichi 2005.

 

Up and Down / 8.15 pm

Jan Hrebejk / Czech Republic, 2004 / 108'

Interlinked tragi-comic stories, set mainly in Prague, make for a colorful jigsaw puzzle of people at various ages, education levels, opinions, beliefs and experiences. The pieces start to slot together when two refugee-smugglers end up with a two-month-old baby in their truck and sell it to a childless couple. Amongst those affected are the new parents and the family of a distinguished professor.  He (Jan Triska) wants to re-arrange his life - finally divorce his legal wife Vera (Emilia Vasaryova) and marry his live-in lover who used to be his son’s girlfriend.  The combination of a strong cast with the director’s remarkable insight makes these stories appealing to everybody. 

Winner of four awards (Best Film, Screenplay, Director and Actress) at the Czech Film Awards.

 

double bill £ 6.50

 

 

Sun 20 Nov, Curzon Soho

 

The Firemens Ball / 12 pm

Milos Forman / Czechoslovakia, 1967 / 71'

Forman's marvellously funny but abrasive satire, apparently based on a real event, charts the course of a hilarious but disastrous village ball where the local firemen's committee preside over a spectacle of fun and entertainment. The attempt to organise a beauty competition where candidates are neither willing nor particularly beautiful, the progressive theft of the raffle prizes and the eruption of a real fire in a nearby house provide the major set pieces in a classic comedy about organisational ineptitude and Czech provincial life.

Academy Award Nomination for the best foreign film.

 

The Party and the Guests

Jan Nemec / Czechoslovakia, 1966 / 70

This brilliant, absurd parable concerns the terror that befalls a group of quests walking to a garden party in the forest. Their fate paints a chilling picture of the tactics used to coerce individuals into adopting the dominant political ideology and the destruction of those who don't.

 

double bill £ 6

 

 

Peter Hames’ THE CZECHOSLOVAK NEW WAVE (Wallflower Press, 2005, second edition) will be on sale at 20% throughout the Czech Film Season at Curzon Soho. More information at www.wallflowerpress.co.uk

 

Curzon Soho, 93-107 Shaftesbury Avenue, London W1D 5DY

Box Office: 020 77342255

Tickets £6 / £5 members

 

 

 

 

Venue:

30 Kensington Palace Gardens
W8 4QY London
United Kingdom

Date

From: 17 Nov 2005 00:00
To: 20 Nov 2005 00:00

Organizer:

Czech Centre London


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