New Czech Films U.S. Tour 2012
- New Czech Films U.S. Tour 2012
Provocative premieres and prize-winners make up this series of six recent films from the Czech Republic. They range from PROTEKTOR’s stylish but sinister drama and the real-life human comedy of MATCHMAKING MAYOR to LEAVING, the first and only film directed by playwright and former Czech Republic president, the late Vaclav Havel. The series opens with WALKING TOO FAST, the thriller that swept the 2011 Czech Lion Awards, with director Radim Spacek in person on June 9.
The touring series “New Czech Films U.S. Tour 2012” is curated by Irena Kovarova, and organized by the Gene Siskel Film Center, the Czech Film Center, and the Consulate General of the Czech Republic, Chicago, with additional support from the Czech Center New York.
Radim Spacek in person!
- WALKING TOO FAST
- 2009, Radim Spacek, Czech Republic/Slovakia, 146 min.
- With Ondrej Maly, Kristína Farkasova
The chill of the Cold War has icy fingers on the emotions of every character in this gripping and convoluted drama that is part low-key political thriller, part tale of unshakeable erotic obsession. Antonin (Maly), a dour little man who works for the secret police, comes to envy the life of his longtime quarry, a married writer. The writer’s saucy red-haired mistress, a factory worker, is the prize the bitter, alienated agent feels that life owes him, and the state has put the tools of appropriation within his grasp. Winner of five Czech Lion Awards, including Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Actor. In Czech with English subtitles. 35mm. (BS)
Director Radim Spacek will be present for audience discussion on Saturday.
- MATCHMAKING MAYOR
- 2011, Erika Hnikova, Czech Republic/Slovakia, 72 min.
“Original and charismatic…has us laughing with the subjects, not at them.”
—Natasha Senjanovic, Hollywood Reporter
After implementing a host of popular civic improvements that include satellite TV, the mayor of a picture-pretty Slovak town turns his attention to marrying off the locale’s 70-some singles in the hope of eventually boosting the population. Set in their ways, these middle-aged bachelors and bachelorettes prove to be a balky bunch when it comes to the mayor’s brainstorm: a festive singles mixer. Director Hnikova has a sympathetic eye on the matchmaking indignities heaped on the reluctant but forbearing guests as the absurdity and hilarity of the central event unfold. In Slovak with English subtitles. 35mm. (BS)
- 2011, Vaclav Havel, Czech Republic, 94 min.
- With Josef Abrham, Dagmar Havlova
Vaclav Havel capped his wide-ranging career as a playwright, activist, political dissident, and the first president of the Czech Republic by directing this first film, a farcical comedy adapted from his final play. Set in an unnamed country where the self-important chancellor leads a life of luxurious excess in a state-owned villa surrounded by his vain mistress (Havlova, Havel’s wife) and an attentive entourage, the story has pronounced overtones of Chekhov’s “The Cherry Orchard,” with hints of Shakespeare’s “King Lear.” Foolishness and the vision of fading poseurs in eccentric finery accentuate a dreamy aura of decadence that couches wry political satire. In Czech with English subtitles. 35mm. (BS)
- IDENTITY CARD
- (OBCANSKY PRUKAZ)
- 2010, Ondrej Trojan, Czech Republic/Slovakia, 137 min.
- With Libor Kovar, Matous Vrba
“Nostalgic crowd pleaser…hits all the right notes.”
—Boyd Van Hoeij, Variety
Based on the novel of the same title by Petr Sabach, this bittersweet comedy focuses on four friends coming of age in the Seventies. The Communist regime’s dubious gift of a state identity card confers alleged adult status on the 15-year-olds, but plants the seeds of rebellion as the influence of rock music and Western hippie values pull them in daring new directions. Director Trojan spins the story from all-out humor to danger when playful pranks bring deadly backlash. In Czech with English subtitles. 35mm. (BS)
- 2009, Marek Najbrt, Czech Republic/Germany, 98 min.
- With Marek Daniel, Jana Plodkova
“Striking style…a cool, noirish slant.”
“Rhythmic graphics and samplings of Gershwin.”
—Robert Koehler, Variety
The movie sets, cabarets, and studios of 1940s Prague, rendered in rich black-and-white and eerily bleached color, form the backdrop to this starkly stylish drama of artists, Third Reich villains, and moral choices. Popular film ingénue Hana’s career plummets when her Jewish roots are revealed, just as the smooth voice of her radio announcer husband Emil finds favor with his new Nazi bosses. Hana looks for extramarital love in dangerous places, while Emil discovers that the favor of his overlords is a two-edged sword. In Czech with English subtitles. 35mm. (BS)
- LONG LIVE THE FAMILY
- (RODINA JE ZAKLAD STATU)
- 2011, Robert Sedlacek
- Czech Republic, 90 min.
- With Igor Chmela, Eva Vrbkova
The English title is ironic, as is a literal translation of the Czech title, FAMILY IS THE FOUNDATION OF THE STATE, in this low-key satire built around a family tragedy. A corporate middle-manager accused of embezzlement on a massive scale evades ratting on his bosses and heads for home, one step away from arrest. Feigning normalcy, even to his wife, he takes the family on a road-trip, fully aware that there is no place to hide. Director Sedlacek keeps the mood edgy, the question of guilt in doubt despite the evidence, as this road movie plays out as a skewed summer vacation. Nominated for six Czech Lion Awards and winner of Best Film from the Czech film critics. In Czech with English subtitles. 35mm. (BS)