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FESTIVALS Czech Republic/Romania

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Czech cinema in the spotlight in TIFF sidebar

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- The Transilvania International Film Festival is screening recent Czech films in its Czech Focus section

Czech cinema in the spotlight in TIFF sidebar
Honeymoon by Jan Hřebejk

After last year’s Focus on Slovak cinema, the Transilvania International Film Festival (30 May–8 June) in Cluj-Napoca is dedicating several of its screens to Czech films. In addition to the fresh batch of recent titles, the programmers have decided to slip in two movies from Czech national treasures: Miloš Forman’s satire on the petite bourgeoisie, The Firemen’s Ball, and what is considered to be the greatest Czech film ever made, the medieval drama Marketa Lazarová by František Vláčil.

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Among other Czech offerings is a nocturnal ride through the metropolis of Prague in Petr Hátle’s debut documentary, The Great Night. Hátle spent one year following the subjects of his film to construct a mosaic of people who sleep during the day and live their lives at night. After initially focusing on night security guards and night-shift factory workers, the camera remains fixed on ageing prostitutes, drug addicts and alcoholics. The director drew inspiration from the techniques and compositions seen in Michael Glawogger’s and Ulrich Seidl’s movies. The film was produced by nutprodukce, with HBO acting as co-producer.

The Czech sidebar also includes films that received praise or awards domestically, such as Burning Bush [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
; Normalisation; Alice Nellis’ comedy about ageing rockers, Revival [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Alice Nellis
film profile
]
; and the Czech and Slovak co-produced Velvet Terrorists [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, a triple portrait of unconventional heroes who were put on trial for terrorism in Czechoslovakia in the 1980s.

Bára Kopecká has already introduced her debut documentary, DK, at the festival, a film about her deceased husband, a controversial architect. The director has injected into the unusual portrait fragments of everyday life as captured on home video, creating a collage of memories. The documentary is produced by Produkce Třeštíková in co-production with Czech Television. Meanwhile, filmmaker Dagmar Smržová came to the TIFF with her latest documentary observing the day-to-day life of a young schizophrenic. The Story of Mr Love is produced by Endorfilm and co-produced by HBO Europe.

Honeymoon [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
, a film by experienced creative duo Petr Jarchovský (screenplay) and Jan Hřebejk (direction), is screening in the ominously named Eye for an Eye section, along with John Michael McDonagh’s Calvary [+see also:
film review
trailer
making of
interview: John Michael McDonagh
film profile
]
, Anna Odell’s The Reunion [+see also:
film review
trailer
festival scope
film profile
]
and Emir Baigazin’s Harmony Lessons [+see also:
film review
trailer
festival scope
film profile
]
. In Honeymoon, suspense and mistrust begin creeping into a newly married couple’s lives after a visit from a mysterious old acquaintance of the groom’s. The film is produced by Fog ‘n’ Desire Films, and co-produced by Czech Television, K Film plus and Sokol Kollár. The last film screening at Transilvania revolves around a petty digital-watch seller who skyrockets into the highest echelons of politics, as a shadowy figure working behind the curtain. Corruption, scheming and murder, amongst other topics, provide the main ingredients in Petr Nikolaev’s Godfather’s Story. UFO Pictures and Take One Take produced the film, with support from the Czech State Fund for Cinema.

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