Screening of Czech films
Films by well-known Czech directors accompanied by an exhibition of an art collection from Zlin.
Project co-financed by the European Union from the European Regional Development Fund under the INTERREG V-A Program Czech Republic-Poland 2014-2020 and from the state budget of Poland
The show will be preceded with a lecture by Jan Trzupek.
Jiří Menzel, Ondřej Trojan, Petr Zelenka and Karel Kachyňa are all important names in the history of post-war Czech cinematography. The four films directed by these outstanding filmmakers are comedies showing the lives and dilemmas faced by different generations of Czechs – from the turn of the 20th century, through the communist period and Prague Spring, to modern times after the political transformation. The films, presented as part of the Czech Art Festival, will be accompanied by an exhibition of Czech art of the 19th and 20th century.
The screening with be preceded by a lecture delivered by Jan Trzupek – an art historian, creator of many exhibitions and author of critical texts on contemporary art; President of the Małopolska Foundation of the Museum of Contemporary Art.
The films will be shown from 5 p.m. on 22 and 23 October.
The following films will be presented during the two-day event:
Fabulous Men with a Crank / Báječní muži s klikou, 1978, 84 min
directed by: Jiří Menzel
In his captivating picture, Jiří Menzel takes viewers back in time to the beginnings of the Czech cinema. The refined shots of late 19th century Prague are populated with figures which are inspired by real-life characters.
The fabulous men with a crank are: Pasparte (played by Rudolf Hrušínski) - a rover and enthusiast of animated photography, owner of a market stall who dreams of establishing a permanent cinema in Prague - his real-life prototype was Viktor Ponrepo, the founder the oldest cinema in Prague; talented engineer Kolenatý (Jiří Menzel) is a figure modelled on the first filmmaker from Prague - Jan Kříženecki; cabaret artist Šlapeta (played by Vladimír Menšík) is a film portrait of Josef Šváb Malostransky, the first Czech film actor. his is Menzel's tribute to the pioneers of cinematography.
The Death of Beautiful Deer / Smrt krásných srnců, 1986, 91 min
written and directed by Karel Kachyňa
After 1968, during the so-called normalization period, the Czechoslovakian movie miracle faced a slow death. Many filmmakers emigrated, others were prevented from making films in the country.
Karel Kachyňa, a representative of the so-called first wave of Czech film, made many significant films in the 'golden sixties'. The last of them, Ear (1970), carried extremely important social and political messages, but in the end, was confiscated by the authorities. The artist was still able to make films with children, with whom he didn't have to make pathetic compromises. His work from that period is one of a rare achievement of an outstanding artistic level. Some of Kachynia's films are regarded as true gems of Chech cinematography.
One of them is The Death of Beautiful Deer - a successful adaptation of captivating short stories by Ota Pavel (1930-1973) in which the author returns to his childhood years before and during the Second World War, and his memorable trips to the river Berounka. One of the main characters is played by Rudolf Hrušínský, an outstanding actor who was also "banned" during the long years of normalization.
Identity Card / Občanský průkaz, 2010, 129 min
directed by: Ondřej Trojan
written by: Petr Jarchovský
Ondřej Trojan (b. 1959) - brother of Ivan, a famous actor, is known primarily as a film producer of pictures by Jan Hrebeka and Petr Jarchovsky. He made his debut as a director with the film Let's Sing Along Together (1991) which was also based on their screenplay. After this, he directed two more films based on the screenplay by Petr Jarchovsky - Oscar-nominated Zelary in 2003, and Identity Card in 2010. The latter is based on the prose by Petr Šabach (1951-2017), which had also been frequently used by Hřebejk and Jarchovski in their "pictures with history in the background."
Identity Card is set in the era of normalization of the mid-1970s. It is a story of four young friends who enter adulthood after receiving their ID cards, and experience their first romantic relationships. The film shows different attitudes towards a totalitarian regime (children looking askance at the behaviour of the generation of their parents), and ways of dealing with dismal times when young. We see a comprehensive picture of that period, with scenes from the lives of ordinary people, and the alternative underground movements which attempted to compensate for the harsh reality. In the words of Jan Hřebejk, the story, showing the lives of the director’s generation is like: “a bitter pill in sweet icing.”
Year of the Devil / Rok ďábla, 2002, 88 min
written and directed by Petr Zelenka
Following the success of Buttoners and Loners, Petr Zelenka directed Year of the Devil (2002). The film resembles a fictitious documentary – a convention to which Zelenka has a particular predilection. We can see it in his first, medium-length film Mňága - Happy End (1996) about a music band, and even in the earlier pseudo-documentary Hanging Castle (1993).
In Year of the Devil, a film dedicated to "all those who can hear music (in silence)", fiction mixes with reality. There are real-life characters, such as Jaromír Nohavica, the famous bard, the popular band Čechomor with František Černý, the poet Karel Plíhal and jazz musician Jaz Coleman. Each of them plays himself, but their vicissitudes offer a suggestive mix of what is probable with "what is impossible and yet becomes a fact", to use the immortal words of Hrabal.
In this story, the paranomal and the supernatural become reality , forming the metaphysical matter of the picture which draws abundantly from extensive narrative traditions of Czech literarature, film and music.