Marketa Lazarová by Vladislav Vančura is a masterpiece of Czech interwar modernism, praised for its experimental use of language. The epic tale, set in an unspecified time in medieval Bohemia, depicts a feud between two families of petty noblemen and celebrates courage, honour and love, which undermines social and religious conventions. The novel was first published in 1931, but only saw its English translation in 2016.
Thanks to incentives, film projects realised in the Czech Republic brought in around USD 390 million to the economy last year, a record number that is double the amount raised in 2018, according to the Czech Film Fund. Aside from a return of part of their investment, producers also benefit from world-class film crews, a large array of well-preserved architecture and marked weather seasons.
A new film called The Trap, which is due to premiere on Czech Television this Sunday, tells the tragic fate of the great Czech film and theatre actress Jiřina Štepničková who fell into a trap set by the communist secret police in the 1950s and was sentenced to 15 years in jail for attempting to flee the country with her four-year-old son. The communist hysteria surrounding the process was so great that many of Štepničková’s colleague actors and actresses signed a petition for her to be put to death for treason.
No fewer than 23,000 fans of sci-fi, fantasy and horror attended the first ever Prague Comic-Con at the weekend. And the biggest guest at the inaugural edition was Hollywood actor Ron Perlman, who has appeared in superhero movies such as Hellboy and Blade II, both of which were shot right here in Prague, a city he avowedly adores.
The digitally restored version of Ecstasy, a 1933 film by Czechoslovak
director Gustav Machatý, is due to be screened at Lucerna cinema in Prague
on Friday evening. The screening will be preceded by a performance of the
Czech Radio’s Symphony Orchestra.
The film, featuring Hedy Lamarr in her first major role, was first screened
at the same cinema on January 18, 1933. It was highly controversial in its
time because of nude scenes and its portrayal of sexual intercourse and the
Ecstasy was digitally restored by the National Film Archive in cooperation with the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. Last year, it won an award for best-digitally restored film at the international film festival in Venice.
Following the premiere, the film will go into distribution in cinemas all around the Czech Republic.
Screenshot, a new Prague art-house cinema and exhibition gallery, is the beloved brainchild of Iranian-born filmmaker and FAMU International grad Payam Razi, who stepped down as Radio Free Europe music editor in December to devote his energy to the “hybrid space”. All screenings, he says, are English-friendly “events” for film lovers eager for a festival-like, shared viewing experience. Screenshot is working with venerable Czech institutions such as the National Film Archive and Institute of Documentary film (KineDok) and the ongoing popular Írán:ci Film
Dcera (Daughter), the puppet stop-motion movie created by FAMU student Daria Kashcheeva has been nominated for an Oscar in the category “best animated short“. It would be the latest and most significant in a series of awards that the 15- minute production has assembled over the past year. Meanwhile, The Painted Bird, written and directed by Václav Marhoul has missed out on the nomination for “best foreign film“.
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