Sunday, January 29, 2012

Check Out the Czech Film Festival

Check Out the Czech Film Festival
(from 10/19/09)
My friend Laura Blum is the creator, producer, and co-curator for an ambitious Czech film festival that will be at the Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center beginning this Friday. Marking the twentieth anniversary of Czech freedom, it includes a fascinating array of political films from past and present. In addition to classics like Ecstasy, Daisies, Loves of a Blonde, and the Star Wars forerunner "Voyage to the End of the Universe" are films we've only read about until now. Every film fan can find three or four must-see films. Look over all the information for the festival and then at the end, read (after you've seen it) what I wrote about Ecstasy back in 1986 for my book "Guide for the Film Fanatic."
The Ironic Curtain
Czech Cinema since the Velvet Revolution
October 23-29, 2009
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, the remarkable, non-violent overthrow of Czechoslovakias Communist regime, we present a series of some of the finest Czech films made since the founding of the new democracy, including several international prizewinners and box-office successes. 
Additionally, a sidebar of key Czech classics honors the countrys exceedingly rich filmmaking tradition. Many of the screenings will be complemented by discussions with filmmakers, actors, and other distinguished guests.
+ Guest appearances are indicated by an asterisk (*) after the showtime.
The Ferrari Dino Girl / Holka Ferrari Dino
Jan Nmec, Czech Republic, 2009; 68m
screening with
The Kind Revolution / Nn revoluce
Ji Stecha and Petr Slavk, Czech Republic, 1990; 37m
Fri Oct 23: 2:00pm*
Sun Oct 25: 7:00pm*
*Pavel Jech, dean of the Czech film school FAMU, will introduce The Ferrari Dino Girl and Martin Palou, Czech Ambassador to the U.N, will introduce The Kind Revolution.
The Loves of a Blonde / Lsky jedn plavovlsky
Milo Forman, Czechoslovakia, 1965; 88m
screening with
The Death of Stalinism in Bohemia / Konec stalinismu v echch
Jan vankmajer, UK, 1990; 10m
Fri Oct 23 4:15pm
Wed Oct 28: 8:40pm
Citizen Havel / Oban Havel
Pavel Kouteck and Miroslav Janek, Czech Republic, 2008; 120m
Fri Oct 23: 6:30pm*
*Czech Consul General Elika igov will introduce the film.
Something Like Happiness / tst
Bohdan Slma, Czech Republic/Germany, 2005; 102m
Fri Oct 23: 9:10pm*
*Intro/Q&A w/ Actor Aa Geislerov.
Thu Oct 29: 2:15pm
Empties / Vratn lahve
Jan Svrk, Czech Republic/UK, 2007; 100m
Sat Oct 24: 6:00pm*
*Intro by Producer Eric Abraham.
Wed Oct 28: 2:15pm
The Return of the Idiot / Nvrat idiota
Saa Gedeon, Czech Republic/Germany, 1999; 100m
screening with
Czech Peace / esk mir
Filip Remunda and Vit Klusk, Czech Republic, 2004; 8m
Sat Oct 24: 8:00pm*
Tue Oct 27: 4:00pm*
*Intro by Actor Aa Geislerov.
Gustav Machat, Czechoslovakia/Austria, 1933; 87m
Sun Oct 25: 12:30pm
Divided We Fall / Musme si pomhat
Jan Hebejk, Czech Republic, 2000; 122m
Sun Oct 25: 2:20pm
Wed Oct 28: 6:15pm*
*Intro by Jana ernk, Director, Czech Film Center.
Some Secrets / Vlet
Alice Nellis, Czech Republic/Slovakia, 2002; 93m
Sun Oct 25: 4:45pm
Wed Oct 28: 4:15pm*
*Intro by Iva Bittov.
Voyage to the End of the Universe / Ikarie XB 1
Jindrich Polk, Czechoslovakia, 1963; 87m
Sun Oct 25: 9:15pm
Thu Oct 29: 4:20pm
Daisies / Sedmikrsky
Vra Chytilov, Czechoslovakia, 1966; 74m
Tue Oct 27: 2:15pm*
Thu Oct 29: 8:50pm*
*Intro by Michal Bregant, dean of FAMU International
The Cremator / Spalova mrtvol
Juraj Herz, Czechoslovakia, 1969; 95m
Tue Oct 27: 9:00pm*
*Intro by Chris Harwood, Lecturer in Czech Slavic Languages, Columbia University.
The Karamazovs / Karamazovi
Petr Zelenka, Czech Republic/Poland, 2008; 100m
Thu Oct 29: 6:15pm*
*Intro/Q&A w/ Director Petr Zelenka.
Single Screening Tickets:
$7 members/students/child - $8 senior - $11 public
Online service charge: $1.25 per ticket ordered. Cash only at the box office.
Series Pass ($45 public/$30 member): admits one person to five titles in the series; only available for purchase at the box office ~ subject to availability. Certain restrictions apply.
For tickets and further information, visit: <
Spoiler Alert: About Ecstasy: This once banned picture, starring the unknown Hedy Lamarr (who was born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler in Vienna) an directed by Gustav Machaty, is a surprisingly impressive work considering that its reputation is based solely on its troubles with censors and Lamarr's nudity. It's an extremely bold, erotic exploration of a woman's need for sexual fulfillmenta theme that was long taboo in the cinema. Lamarr is a young bride who discovers that her older husband has no sexual desires. While she watches young romantic couples all around her kissing or dancing closely, her dull husband ignores her. Extremely unhappy, she leaves him and goes home to her father. She plans a divorce. czechecstasy.jpg
After a nude swim, she meets a construction worker who returns her dress. In a remarkable sequence that takes place that night, Machaty cuts back and forth between sexual imagery and Lamarr standing alone on a balcony with a cigarette smoke escaping her wide-open mouth; it's easy to tell that Lamarr is at the mercy of her libido. She aggressively walks to the worker's shack and they have sex. Machaty's camera stays on Lamarr's face through the lovemaking and while she has an orgasmthis startling scene, not the more famous on in which Lamarr runs nude through the woods, is the reason the film has always had trouble with censors. Machaty is sympathetic to Lamarr, yet he considers her a sinner for yielding to her sexual desires and seeking out a man for sex (and for committing adultery)regrettably, he feels she deserves punishment and must sacrifice all, including the man she now loves (because he gave her sexual pleasure). Sound film has very little dialogueit is shot like a silent film, often employing Russian montage techniques. Final sequence of workers is bizarre, almost experimental in nature. Also with: Jaromin Rogoz, Leopold Kramer, Aribert Mog.

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