Czech Film Fest 2012!

Presented by Czech Film Center, General Consulate of the Czech Republic in Los Angeles & ELMA

Cinefamily is proud to host the Los Angeles stop of the national New Czech Films Tour! See what’s new in contemporary Bohemian filmmaking with the Los Angeles stop of series featuring the directorial debut of late playwright/former Czech president Vaclav Havel, award-winning narrative and documentary films, and director Q&As. Plus, in addition to the line-up of brand-new films, we also have archival 35mm screenings of vintage Czech masterpieces!

Watch our original trailer for Czech Film Fest 2012!


Daisies (5/23, 9:40pm)

A buoyant spring of irrepressible female creativity!
daisies_newsite
5/23/2012 - 9:40PM

Daisies is a bubbling and buoyant spring of irrepressible female creativity; it is an overflowing audio-visual bouquet of color, music and texture; it is a freewheeling and effervescent farce, a formal free-for-all, a paradoxical mixture of bourgeois indulgence and cultural critique, and it’s your next favorite movie. Two young Czech girls (both named Marie) decide that the world is so corrupt that they might as well join in, and they do so with wild abandon — prancing, food-fighting, pranking old men, carousing in nightclubs and creating anarchy everywhere they go. Director Vera Chytilova’s love of cinema’s potential is both playful and palpable, as exuberant as the spirit of the two “daisies” whose misadventures have surprising weight and meaning. Banned upon its release by the Czech government, Daisies has become a major cult favorite thanks to its dazzling setpieces, charismatic and fashionable art-girl heroines, and an infectious sense of fun that’s as potent today as it was when it first premiered behind the Iron Curtain.
Dir. Vera Chytilová, 1968, 35mm, 74 min.

Watch Cinefamily’s original trailer for “Daisies”!

Fruit of Paradise

Another masterpiece from the director of Daisies!
fruitofparadise_newsite
5/23/2012 - 7:30PM

Another consciousness-expanding experimental masterpiece from the Czech mastermind of Daisies! “Chytilová’s little-seen masterwork is a dazzlingly complex, formally rigorous allegory of Adam and Eve that poses the eternal question, “Can one live with the truth?”— and then refuses to answer it! In the Garden of Eden of an East European spa, Eva hands an apple to her husband Joseph, but he prefers ogling the other female guests. Cue a handsome new arrival, who offers Eva a few new Satanic pleasures along with that apple, plus enough murderous intentions to cause the death of them all. Chytilová’s color schemes and juxtapositions brought the art of montage to new heights, while Fruit‘s mad expressionism and vibrant symbolism earned it comparisons to Fellini’s Satyricon and to the films of Paradjanov. A rare, inventive union of allegory, feminism, and the avant-garde, Fruit of Paradise defies all interpretations, yet suggests new ones in every frame.” — Jason Sanders, BAM/PFA
Dir. Vera Chytilova, 1970, 35mm, 99 min.

Watch an excerpt from “Fruit of Paradise”!
YouTube Preview Image

Daisies (5/21, 10:30pm)

A buoyant spring of irrepressible female creativity!
daisies_newsite
5/21/2012 - 10:30PM

Daisies is a bubbling and buoyant spring of irrepressible female creativity; it is an overflowing audio-visual bouquet of color, music and texture; it is a freewheeling and effervescent farce, a formal free-for-all, a paradoxical mixture of bourgeois indulgence and cultural critique, and it’s your next favorite movie. Two young Czech girls (both named Marie) decide that the world is so corrupt that they might as well join in, and they do so with wild abandon — prancing, food-fighting, pranking old men, carousing in nightclubs and creating anarchy everywhere they go. Director Vera Chytilova’s love of cinema’s potential is both playful and palpable, as exuberant as the spirit of the two “daisies” whose misadventures have surprising weight and meaning. Banned upon its release by the Czech government, Daisies has become a major cult favorite thanks to its dazzling setpieces, charismatic and fashionable art-girl heroines, and an infectious sense of fun that’s as potent today as it was when it first premiered behind the Iron Curtain.
Dir. Vera Chytilová, 1968, 35mm, 74 min.

Watch Cinefamily’s original trailer for “Daisies”!

Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (5/20, 9:00pm)

A haunting, psychoactive period piece!
valerie_newsite
5/20/2012 - 9PM

“Virtually every shot is a knockout.” – Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader

As joyful as it is impossible to pin down, Valerie is a haunting, psychoactive period piece which plunges the beautiful heroine Valerie into a phantasmagorical world of thirsty vampires, the dark arts and dreamy free love — all set to one of the great film scores of the era, a cocktail of psych-folk and avant-garde classical by the great Luboš Fišer. The film opens with 13-year-old Valerie’s first menstruation and subsequent sexual awakening, her unsteady discovery of which lets loose a torrent of quixotic, hallucinatory experiences both terrifying and beautiful; amongst a haze of shifting tones and a flurry of role reversals and Gothic nightmares in broad daylight, Valerie floats along, buoyed by the fears and fantasies that come with nascent sexuality and teenage fantasy. This bewitching brew is a must to behold on 35mm — do not miss it.
Dir. Jaromil Jires, 1970, 35mm, 73 min.

Watch excerpts from “Valerie and Her Week of Wonders”!
YouTube Preview Image

A Tribute To Vaclev Havel (feat. Leaving & The Garden Party)

A tribute to the late president/playwright!
leaving_newsite
5/20/2012 - 5:30PM

Before becoming the first president of free Czechoslovakia after 1989 and a world-celebrated politician, Václav Havel (who sadly passed away this winter) was first and foremost an incredible playwright. In the 1960s, Joseph Papp premiered all his plays at the venerable Public Theater in Manhattan, and invited Havel for his first visit to America in 1968. After leaving public office, Havel returned to writing, and to a theme of his from the ’70s, about a womanizing politico at the time of life when he is no longer the center of attention, protected by his office against his political archrival. A searing satire, Havel’s directorial debut Leaving fulfilled his lifelong dream of making a movie. Based as much on Shakespeare’s King Lear as on the president’s real-life experience in politics, the resonance with Havel’s personal life is allegedly accidental, though the author’s claim is made harder to believe by the casting of his wife, Dagmar, in the role of the politico’s girlfriend. After intermission, it’s a presentation of a 2010 television production of Havel’s play The Garden Party!
Leaving Dir. Vaclev Havel, 2011, 95 min.
The Garden Party Dir. Rudolf Tesácek, 2010, 92 min.

Watch the trailer for “Leaving”!
YouTube Preview Image

Cinefama Pajama Party: Daisies (5/19, 10pm)

A buoyant spring of irrepressible female creativity!
daisies_newsite
5/19/2012 - 10PM

Daisies is a bubbling and buoyant spring of irrepressible female creativity; it is an overflowing audio-visual bouquet of color, music and texture; it is a freewheeling and effervescent farce, a formal free-for-all, a paradoxical mixture of bourgeois indulgence and cultural critique, and it’s your next favorite movie. Two young Czech girls (both named Marie) decide that the world is so corrupt that they might as well join in, and they do so with wild abandon — prancing, food-fighting, pranking old men, carousing in nightclubs and creating anarchy everywhere they go. Director Vera Chytilova’s love of cinema’s potential is both playful and palpable, as exuberant as the spirit of the two “daisies” whose misadventures have surprising weight and meaning. Banned upon its release by the Czech government, Daisies has become a major cult favorite thanks to its dazzling setpieces, charismatic and fashionable art-girl heroines, and an infectious sense of fun that’s as potent today as it was when it first premiered behind the Iron Curtain. Join us after the film for a femme, fun-filled Pajama party evening of creative/destructive proportions! Adorn your noggin at our flower crown-making station! Giggle wildly while you snap a pic in our cake fight photobooth! Daintily knock back some champagne! Dance your butts off with our DJs (note: we will not be allowing any swinging from the chandeliers — but you can dance as though you are!!) C’mon, wildflowers, this night was MADE for you!
Dir. Vera Chytilová, 1968, 35mm, 74 min.

Watch Cinefamily’s original trailer for “Daisies”!

Animation Breakdown presents: Alois Nebel (director in person!)

Director in person!
aloisnebel_newsite
5/19/2012 - 7:20PM

“Evoking some of the most renowned Czech films of the sixties — Closely Watched Trains in particular — director Tomáš Lunák weaves a spell around his animated tale of Alois, a middle-aged dispatcher who works at a small railway station in the Sudeten (the mountainous region along the Czech borders with Germany and Poland.) It is 1989, and the radio is full of news of border crossings in Berlin as the wall starts to come down. His face grim, Alois looks as if he has seen it all — little excites him. But as fog and rain swirl around the station, he finds himself haunted by the past, especially the events at the end of the Second World War. Alois Nebel seems to flow effortlessly across the screen. Visually, this film is an absolute delight, its rotoscope animation allowing Lunák to concentrate on the essential in every shot, while the choice of B&W perfectly matches the tone of the story. Atmospheric and drenched in mood, Alois Nebel is destined to become a classic of the form.” — Piers Handling, TIFF Director Tomáš Luňák will be here for a Q&A after the film!
Dir. Tomáš Luňák, 2011, 84 min.

Long Live The Family

longlivethefamily_newsite
5/19/2012 - 4PM

One of the most strident voices in contemporary Czech cinema, director Robert Sedláček crafts a searing commentary on contemporary Eastern European society in this critically acclaimed drama. A nouveau riche business executive goes on the run from the police, masking his escape as a family trip, claiming all the while that his chosen career, and the embezzlement that ensued, was all for the good of his family.
Dir. Robert Sedláček, 2011, 90 min.

Matchmaking Mayor

matchmakingmayor_newsite
5/19/2012 - 1:45PM

“Were award-winning director Erika Hnikova’s entertaining “Matchmaking Mayor” a fiction film, it would seem ludicrous or cloying, meaning its subjects are a documentarian’s dream. She portrays ridiculous situations with the kind of sensibility that has us laughing with the subjects, not at them.” –Hollywood Reporter

The kooky mayor of Zemplínske Hámre, Slovakia, is bewildered at the number of single young people in his village. He’s mystified that they would rather get to the bottom of a vodka bottle than talk to a member of the opposite sex, and in his view, this is why the human race is quietly going to hell in a handbasket. All of his earnest attempts to encourage procreation, including regularly using the village’s public address system to point out the young people’s civic duty to partner up, have failed. So he hatches a plan to neatly pair up each of the available singles. Needless to say, things don’t quite go to plan. In the end, this fantastic documentary seeks to answer the simple query: can the heart be commanded?
Dir. Erika Hnikova, 2011, 72 min.

Watch the trailer for “Matchmaking Mayor”!
YouTube Preview Image

Identity Card

A teenage epic of Seventies rebellion!
identitycard_newsite
5/18/2012 - 7:30PM

The next time you reminisce about the trials and tribulations of your teenage years — consider what that time of your life would’ve been like in ‘70s Communist Czechoslovakia! “Based on the novel of the same title by Petr Sabach, this bittersweet comedy focuses on four friends coming of age in the Seventies. The Communist regime’s dubious gift of a state identity card confers alleged adult status on the 15-year-olds, but plants the seeds of rebellion as the influence of rock music and Western hippie values pull them in daring new directions” (Siskel Film Center.) This epic teenage period piece is helmed by Ondřej Trojan, the two-time Oscar-nominated producer of Divided We Fall and director of Želary. Come early for Cinefamily’s Identity Card pre-show featuring vintage footage of classic Czech rock ‘n roll!
Dir. Ondřej Trojan, 2010, 137 min.

Four Suns

The first Czech feature ever to compete at Sundance!
foursuns_newsite
5/18/2012 - 5PM

The first Czech feature ever to compete at Sundance! “A man who has never actually grown up, Jára lives in a cramped apartment with his wife, their toddler, Vena (a teenage son from a previous marriage) — and spends too much time hanging out with his new oddball, New Age mystic friend Karel. After losing his wife’s patience, his connection with an increasingly punk-inspired Vena, and his actory job when caught smoking pot — Jára decides to leave it all behind, to go along on a road trip in order to find Karel’s spiritual master. Director Bohdan Sláma’s sensibility stems from a tender view of ordinary people and their inability to see themselves; like Mike Leigh, Sláma uncannily creates characters that are distinctive, even eccentric, without seeming contrived. Although his characters wrestle with selfishness, infidelity, and despair, they share an inexplicable, innate optimism. In this delicately framed reflection on happiness, Sláma here constructs a story that feels effortless and even magical.” — Sundance Film Festival
Dir. Bohdan Sláma, 2012, 90 min.

Watch the trailer for “Four Suns”!
YouTube Preview Image

Animation Breakdown: Collected Shorts of Jan Svankmajer (5/17, 11pm)

Classics from the surrealist stop-motion master!
svankmajershorts_newsite
5/17/2012 - 11PM

Sensei to the Brothers Quay, championed as a hero by Terry Gilliam and hailed by Milos Forman as “Disney + Buñuel” – Jan Švankmajer is perhaps our greatest living surrealist master. Firmly established as world cinema’s go-to guru for the grotesque and perverse, his feature films (Alice, Little Otik, Conspirators of Pleasure) have introduced countless arthouse audiences to a singular, slanted world of European decay–a delectably skewed stew that twists the familiar (body parts, food, household objects) to reveal the carnal absurdities of the everyday human condition. But nowhere is this vision more encapsulated and undiluted than in his prolific and rarely screened short films. Emerging from behind the Iron Curtain in the late ‘60s, his explosive early films evaded rampant governmental censorship by working within the “assumedly safe” medium of the animated short, employing stop-motion, puppetry, cut-out animation, experimental techniques and any means necessary to covertly inject his symbolic subversion into the Czech cinematic bloodstream. Slabs of meat copulating on countertops, bodies crumbling and merging in a sea of ecstatic clay, anthropomorphic food devouring itself and vomiting up more anthropomorphic food — all are right at home within Švankmajer’s mini-morsels of morbidity, but perhaps nowhere more at home as in the shared darkness of a theater, viscerally twitching and flickering on the big screen.

Watch Jan Svankmajer’s 1989 short “Meat Love”!
YouTube Preview Image

Walking Too Fast (w/ festival opening reception, director in person!)

Director in person!
walkingtoofast_newsite
5/17/2012 - 7:30PM

“Against the backdrop of a Cold War Czechoslovakia where 1989′s Velvet Revolution is still unimaginable, this taut political thriller traces the psychological unraveling of a secret agent, torn apart by the monotony and corruption of the sinister bureaucracy that employs him. Antonin (nicknamed Tonga) becomes obsessed with the girlfriend of a writer he is tracking as a suspected subversive, using the considerable means at his disposal to break them apart and win the woman for himself, never mind the implausibility of his plan. Tomas refuses to accept Tonga’s offer of exile, even amid the incessant sabotaging of his private life — but the pressure is unrelenting, and he eventually must choose between his love for Klara and everything else he holds dear. Bringing to mind The Lives of Others in its story of love under a totalitarian regime, Walking Too Fast similarly features a brilliant central performance by Ondrej Maly, who plays Tonga with a chilling ruthlessness. Maly’s steeliness is echoed by Jaromir Kacer’s surveillance-like photography, full of stark shadows and a tenebrous ochre and gray palette. Collecting an unprecedented 13 Czech Golden Lion nominations, Walking Too Fast is a bleak and potent rendering of the emotional destruction wreaked by totalitarianism.” — Jesse Dubus, San Francisco International Film Festival 2011 Director Radim Špaček will be here for a Q&A after the film!
Dir. Radim Špaček, 2010, 146 min.

Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (5/16, 10pm)

A haunting, psychoactive period piece!
valerie_newsite
5/16/2012 - 10PM

“Virtually every shot is a knockout.” – Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader

As joyful as it is impossible to pin down, Valerie is a haunting, psychoactive period piece which plunges the beautiful heroine Valerie into a phantasmagorical world of thirsty vampires, the dark arts and dreamy free love — all set to one of the great film scores of the era, a cocktail of psych-folk and avant-garde classical by the great Luboš Fišer. The film opens with 13-year-old Valerie’s first menstruation and subsequent sexual awakening, her unsteady discovery of which lets loose a torrent of quixotic, hallucinatory experiences both terrifying and beautiful; amongst a haze of shifting tones and a flurry of role reversals and Gothic nightmares in broad daylight, Valerie floats along, buoyed by the fears and fantasies that come with nascent sexuality and teenage fantasy. This bewitching brew is a must to behold on 35mm — do not miss it.
Dir. Jaromil Jires, 1970, 35mm, 73 min.

Watch excerpts from “Valerie and Her Week of Wonders”!
YouTube Preview Image

Animation Breakdown: Collected Shorts of Jan Svankmajer (5/16, 7:30pm)

Classics from the surrealist stop-motion master!
svankmajershorts_newsite
5/16/2012 - 7:30PM

Sensei to the Brothers Quay, championed as a hero by Terry Gilliam and hailed by Milos Forman as “Disney + Buñuel” – Jan Švankmajer is perhaps our greatest living surrealist master. Firmly established as world cinema’s go-to guru for the grotesque and perverse, his feature films (Alice, Little Otik, Conspirators of Pleasure) have introduced countless arthouse audiences to a singular, slanted world of European decay–a delectably skewed stew that twists the familiar (body parts, food, household objects) to reveal the carnal absurdities of the everyday human condition. But nowhere is this vision more encapsulated and undiluted than in his prolific and rarely screened short films. Emerging from behind the Iron Curtain in the late ‘60s, his explosive early films evaded rampant governmental censorship by working within the “assumedly safe” medium of the animated short, employing stop-motion, puppetry, cut-out animation, experimental techniques and any means necessary to covertly inject his symbolic subversion into the Czech cinematic bloodstream. Slabs of meat copulating on countertops, bodies crumbling and merging in a sea of ecstatic clay, anthropomorphic food devouring itself and vomiting up more anthropomorphic food — all are right at home within Švankmajer’s mini-morsels of morbidity, but perhaps nowhere more at home as in the shared darkness of a theater, viscerally twitching and flickering on the big screen.

Watch Jan Svankmajer’s 1989 short “Meat Love”!
YouTube Preview Image

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