A visual feast in Prague
by Sakis Kontos
Prague may lack a big, international film festival but the Czech film buffs have a couple of opportunities every year when they can treat themselves with the latest in European or international film production and, in most cases, films that wouldn’t otherwise get a chance at a Czech distribution deal. The 12th edition of Febiofest, which opens Thursday, 31 March in Prague, is one of these opportunities. It is perhaps on par with the Karlovy Vary Film Festival as the country’s most popular audiovisual event, something that the more than 14,000 tickets already sold and a packed program of a total of 336 films and documentaries from 65 countries can surely testify.
This year’s program boasts a record 538 projections in Prague before the festival moves to other major Czech cities and Slovakia.
It also boasts a string of renowned guests. Hungarian director István Szabó is top of the list this year as his latest work Being Julia is the festival’s opening film.
Although Febiofest is not a competitive festival but rather a well organized retrospective, it has devoted fans and its box office success is guaranteed thanks to its diversity with Europe in the core of the program. But, more importantly, the festival is cheap. While the multi-screen theatres charge almost 160 CZK (almost 5,5 €) for a cinema ticket, Febiofest’s films can be enjoyed on less than half that price. Ironically the festival does not exactly compete with the multiplex culture, in fact it somehow depends on it. In previous year it was hosted by the Century chain downtown, while this year it moved to Village cinemas away from the city center.
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