A new film by one of the country’s leading documentary makers, Helena Třeštíková about the Czech interwar actress Lída Baarová, who was the mistress of Nazi propaganda chief Josef Goebbels, will hit the country’s cinemas on Thursday. Called Zkáza krásou, or Doomed Beauty, the documentary probes the life of one of the country’s biggest film stars, whose life was shaped by the dramatic events of the 20th century. A feature film biography about Baarová, by director Filip Renč and starring Táňa Pauhofová, will be shown in Czech cinemas in the spring.
The winners of this year’s Czech Film Critics’ Awards will be announced in a gala ceremony at Prague’s Archa Theatre on January 23. Three feature films will contend for Best Film. These are: Home Care, The Snake Brothers, and Lost in Munich. The titles have also been nominated for best screenplay and best director. In all, The Snake Brothers snagged the highest number of overall nominations, with six. All three of the films were co-produced by Czech Television.
The UK's Second Run DVD recently celebrated 10 years of existence and 100 releases. About a quarter of the reissue company’s titles have been Czechoslovak films, ranging from the relatively famous Intimate Lighting by Ivan Passer to Adelheid, a lesser known work by František Vláčil, director of the classic Marketa Lazarová. When I met the company’s founder Mehelli Modi at a busy London café I wanted to know how he selects the Czechoslovak movies he released. As he explained, it all springs from his own passion for film.
The former Prague cinema Kino 64 U Hradeb could be revived under fresh proposals, the Czech News Agency reported. The long-abandoned building on Mostecká St., a short distance from Charles Bridge, could become a new centre for the film and video arts. The initiator of the renovation, Jan Čep, said concrete plans would be unveiled next spring. Opened in the mid 1960s, Kino 64 U Hradeb was the most modern cinema in the city at the time of the Velvet Revolution. It has been closed since 2002.
Among the most important guests at this year’s Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival was Laurent Becue-Renard, who shared his expertise with local documentarians at an Ex Oriente Film workshop. Becue-Renard’s first film War-Wearied, about Bosnian women coping with the aftermath of conflict, was screened before the masterclass. But when we met, I wanted to discuss his most recent work, Of Men and War.
One of the hottest tickets at this year’s Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival was main competition film RINO, a fascinating portrait of the only Communist mole known to have infiltrated the CIA: Czechoslovakia’s Karel Koecher. Director Jakub Wagner interviewed numerous former US agents and other officials for the film. But it is the charismatic and elusive Koecher who steals the show.
You’ve probably never heard of Aldabra, an atoll in the Indian Ocean some 1,000 kilometres away from the Seychelles’ Mahé. Reportedly, the last filmmaker to shoot there was Jacques Cousteau in the 1950s. Until now. Czech-American filmmaker Steve Lichtag is bringing a unique documentary about the island in 3-D to Czech screens. For its animal inhabitants, every day on Aldabra is an adventure and sometimes a battle for survival.
The plight of refugees was among the key themes at this year’s Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival, with films such as Sean McAllister’s heartrending A Syrian Love Story helping bring the real lives of the hundreds of thousands of stateless persons in Europe home to audiences at the biggest event in Czech documentaries.
The jury at the International Documentary Film Festival Jihlava decided not to pick out a best Czech documentary this year in spite of the 16 entries for their consideration. The jury said on Saturday night that many of the entries did not go beyond works for television and the maker’s statement was not convincing. Two special mentions were made in the section. The best documentary award for Central and Eastern Europe was awarded to Vialy Mansky’s Under the Sun, which tracked the lives of a North Korean family for a year. The world documentary award went to Mauro Herce’s Dead Slow Ahead, which follows a freighter travelling through a barren landscape. The audience award went to Matrix AB, a documentary looking at Czech politician and ANO leader Andrej Babiš, by Vít Klusák.
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