Made in Prague UK Tour
Now in its 4th year, the Made in Prague, New Czech Cinema UK Tour 2013 showcases the best of contemporary Czech films. Five award-winning features demonstrate the vibrancy of Czech cinema departing from the gentle and understated observations of the past to provide a strong commentary on social and political issues, heralding the arrival of assured new filmmakers not afraid to tackle challenging subjects. Thanks to our partnership with the Czech Film Center, Picturehouse Cinemas and other venues, and with the generous support of Staropramen, the audiences in 16 cinemas across the UK will have a rare opportunity to sample the best of current Czech cinema.
While monitoring the lives of the political enemies of totalitarian Czechoslovakia, a tyrannical secret agent becomes obsessed with the life and mistress of a leading dissident. Bored and no longer caring, he exploits the system to tear the lovers apart and get the woman for himself. A more chilling Czech answer to The Lives of Others, this engaging thriller with a stand out central performance succeeds in recreating the grim reality and despair of life in a police state while simulating the feeling of being watched.
*The London screening (2 April at The Gate Cinema) and the Liverpool screening (4 April at Picturehouse @ Fact) will be followed by a Q&A with director Radim Špaček.
Winner of the Annency International Film Festival 2012; Five Czech Film Critics Awards.
Tomáš Luňák, CZ, DE, SK 2011, 81 min
Starring: Miroslav Krobot, Marie Ludvíková, Karel Roden, Leoš Noha
At the end of the 1980s, loner Alois Nebel works as a dispatcher at the small railway station of Bílý Potok, a remote village on the Czech-Polish border. Haunted by ghosts and shadows from Central Europe’s dark post-war past, Alois eventually ends up in a sanatorium. There he gets to know The Mute, a man who carries an old photograph and who was arrested by the police after crossing the border. No one knows why he came to Bílý Potok or who he’s looking for, but his past propels Alois on a journey. Employing a stark monochrome palette and stunning rotoscoped animation, Alois Nebel is a compelling adaptation of Jaroslav Rudiš and Jaromír 99’s graphic novel, and a hauntingly atmospheric allegorical tale of the Czech nation in transition.
The Winner of the European Film Award for the Best Animated Feature 2012; Official Selection at the Venice Film Festival 2011
Robert Sedláček, CZ 2011, 106 min
Starring: Igor Chmela, Jiří Vyorálek, Simona Babčáková, Eva Vrbková
Libor is a teacher turned bank manager, with a wife and two children. When his bosses’ fraudulent activity finds him in serious legal trouble and facing prison, he persuades his family to take a trip away for a few days. Is he fleeing from justice, or does he merely want to delay the moment when he will have to tell his wife that he is going to jail? Or is something else going on entirely? In this intimate road movie, the auspiciously named Libor is an allegorical stand-in for the archetypal small nation swept up by market forces – and also for the Czech Republic itself, the history of which has persistently been dictated by larger powers, and which has long deployed mordant, satirical humour as a last defence.
Four Czech Film Critics Awards 2012.
Petr Nikolaev, CZ, SK 2011, 123 min
Starring: Karel Roden, Zuzana Bydžovská, Zuzana Fialová
The horrific razing of the small Czech village of Lidice was Nazi Germany's only officially recognised act of genocide during World War Two. Nikolaev’s film tells Lidice’s story through its individual inhabitants. When František Šíma is imprisoned after a family dispute ends in the accidental death of his son, he unknowingly saves himself from the fate awaiting the village. Meanwhile fellow resident Václav Fiala enters an affair with the young, impressionable Annie, and seeks to disguise his infidelity with fabricated tales of his role in anti-German resistance. When word of his false heroism reaches the German authorities, Fiala’s lies destine the village for devastating reprisals. A heartbreaking tale laced with tragic irony, LIDICE asks whether surviving is truly winning when it comes at the cost of one's dignity and honour.
Winner of the Audience Award at the Phoenix Film Festival.
Zuzana Liová, CZ, SK 2011, 97 min
Starring: Miroslav Krobot, Taťjana Medvecká, Marián Mitaš, Judit Bardós
After disowning his eldest daughter for marrying a man he disapproves of, irascible and stubborn Imrich starts single-handedly building a house for his younger daughter Eva in the family garden, stealing the bricks from the older daughter’s unfinished house. But Eva dreams of escaping the small village and her overbearing father for a glamorous future in London. She begins skipping school to earn money for the plane ticket, and further sparks fly when she engages in an affair with her new English teacher. An impressive debut from writer-director Liová, The House is grounded in excellent naturalistic performances, inviting comparisons with Loachian realism. It offers an intimate and humorous portrait of generational conflict, and of an emergent but insecure Czech middle class.
Official Selection at the Berlin Film Festival 2011; Winner of the Palm Springs Film Festival 2012; Krysztof Kieslowski Award for screenplay at the Cannes International Film Festival 2007.
Made in Prague Tour is organised by the Czech Centre London in association with the Czech Film Center and Picturehouse.
Partners of this evets are National Film Archive and Staropramen.