In the early days of space travel, years before the Apollo 11 mission, an Austrian journalist walked into a travel office in Vienna asking to reserve a flight to the Moon. Pan American Airways took his reservation, launching what would years later become the carrier’s ‘First Moon Flights Club’. Among the nearly 100,000 people who joined it was the grandfather of Czech documentary film producer Veronika Janatková. Her directorial debut, ‘Ticket to the Moon’, offers a unique perspective on universal longings across the divide of the Iron Curtain,
Animator Gene Deitch settled in Prague almost 60 years ago and directed Tom and Jerry and Popeye cartoons behind the Iron Curtain for the US market. The small number of other Americans who moved here in the communist period were one subject we discussed in the second half of an extensive interview. But I began by asking Deitch about the time the great folk singer and social activist Pete Seeger, a good friend of his, visited Czechoslovakia in 1964.
Gene Deitch, who turns 95 next month, is by some distance the US citizen longest resident in Prague. Deitch had run a successful animation studio in New York prior to the fateful meeting in 1959 with his future wife Zdenka that led him to settle in Prague soon after. From behind the Iron Curtain, he produced an Oscar-winning animated short, as well as directing Tom and Jerry and Popeye cartoons for the American market.
The semiannual Best Film Fest gets underway at Prague arthouse cinemas
Atlas, Lucerna, Evald and MAT on Thursday.
The eclectic program, now in its 16th year, features the top international and Czech films of the past year from a wide range of genres. The festival runs until 17 July.
Screening will be Oscar-winners such as Bohemian Rhapsody, the road movie Green Book, and the documentary Free Solo about a rock climber who attempts to conquer the famed El Capitan's 900-metre vertical rock face at Yosemite National Park.
The biopic drama genre will feature Pain and Fame about Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar, played by Antonio Banderas, who won Best Actor at Cannes.
Among the Czech movies in the Best Film Fest are the tragicomedy On the Roof with Alois Švehlík and Terrorist with Iva Janžurová.
The Bulgarian-Greek road comedy “The Father” won the main prize at the
54th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, picking up the Crystal Globe
at the closing gala ceremony on Saturday night.
The jury also singled out the German psychological family drama “Lara” by Jan-Ole Gerster for which Corinna Harfouch took the Best Actress Award. Milan Ondrik won Best Actor for his lead role in the Slovak-Czech family drama “Let There Be Light”, while Belgian director Tim Mielants won the director’s prize for his film “Patrick”.
The viewers’ award went to Olga Sommerova’s document “Jiří Suchy – Tackling Life with Ease”.
One of the main celebrities at the festival Patricia Clarkson got a standing ovation as she received the Crystal Globe for contribution to world cinema, as did Julianne Moore at the opening of the festival.
The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival will honour cinematographer
Vladimír Smutný on Thursday with a special screening of the 1983 film End
of the Lonely Farm Berghof.
The seven-time winner of the Czech Lion for Best Cinematography, and a two-time winner of the Czech Film Critics’ Award is set to receive the festival’s President‘s Award at the closing ceremony on Saturday.
Mr Smutný has collaborated on countless films, including the Oscar-winning Kolya by Jan Svěrák and the recently completed The Painted Bird by Václav Marhoul.
For over a decade and a half, the Karlovy Vary film festival has been bringing works from the former communist bloc to broader international attention with its flagship East of the West competition. How has the industry in the region developed over the years? And what is the importance of East of the West to Karlovy Vary? I discussed those questions with its programmer, Lenka Tyrpáková.
One of the most discussed Czech films at the Karlovy Vary festival is Old-Timers (Staříci) by Martin Dušek and Ondřej Provazník. It’s based on a real story from the late 1990s of two men’s plot to kill a notorious Communist prosecutor, Karel Vaš, who four decades earlier had secured prison terms for them and the death sentence for several of their friends. I discussed the film with its directors, starting with Dušek.
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Thousands pay tribute to deceased national pop icon Karel Gott