One of the highlights of this year’s Jihlava festival of documentary films was the Czech premiere of Kings of Šumava, which combines real interviews with animation to tell the gripping story of Josef Hasil. A native of the mountain range, Hasil was a border guard turned cross-border agent whose derring-do in smuggling defectors across the Iron Curtain led Czechoslovakia’s secret police to list him as the “king of Šumava” in their files.
The 23rd edition of the annual Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival gets underway on Thursday evening. Over the course of the next five days, the festival will showcase a total of 277 films, including a section dedicated to the anniversary of the Velvet Revolution. I spoke to Marek Hovorka, the festival’s director, and asked to tell me more about the opening film, a tribute to the great Czech cinematographer Jaroslav Kučera:
The 6th edition of the Central European film festival 3Kino will feature
some 60 films under the theme ‘Islands of Freedom’.
Films will screen from 10 to 15 October in the Prague cinemas Lucerna, Světozor, Atlas and Evald, and include new features by Czech director Václav Marhoul (‘The Painted Bird’) and Polish director Agnieszka Holland (‘Mr. Jones’).
The 3Kino festival jury will first award prize to the best feature film, selected from 11 competition films. The award ceremony will take place on 14 October at the Lucerna cinema.
Film director Jan Schmidt has died at the age of 85, Czech Television reported citing family sources. Jan Schmidt directed sixteen films between 1960 and 1995, including Late August at the Hotel Ozone (1967),The Lanfier Colony (1969)and The Death of a Talented Cobbler (1983).The also cooperated on Miloš Forman’s Oscar-winning Amadeus.
One of the most striking aspects of director Václav Marhoul’s new film The Painted Bird is the language spoken in it. The characters communicate in Interslavic, or Medžuslovjansky, an artificial language combining elements from several Slavic languages that fits with the WWII story’s unspecified Eastern European setting. Interslavic has in large part been developed by academic Dr. Vojtěch Merunka, who was closely involved in the movie. When we spoke, I first asked him about earlier attempts to create a Slavic lingua franca.
Vaclav Marhoul’s film The Painted Bird has been selected as the Czech
Republic 's official Oscar entry in the international feature film
category. The Czech Film and TV Academy announced its decision on Monday,
saying the film had been selected from a shortlist of ten entries. The
Oscar nominees will be announced on January 13, 2020.
The American magazine The Hollywood Reporter included the The Painted Bird, in its selection of the top twenty films from this year's film festivals. The film, which the magazine described as "a grim and violent reflection on the cruelty of human nature," was selected alongside movies such as the psychological thriller Joker with Joaquin Phoenix, the historical drama The King, starring promising young actor Timothée Chalamet, the comedy drama Marriage Story with Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver or The Two Popes with Anthony Hopkins.
The Painted Bird was screened at festivals in Venice and Toronto and premiered in Prague on September 11.
Released in 1964, Starci na chmelu is the first and perhaps most famous Czechoslovak film musical. The film’s songs were written by Vratislav Blažek and were recorded with some of the country’s most popular singers at the time, including Karel Gott, Josef Zíma, Jana Petrů and Karel Štědrý. With a story that transcends time, Starci na chmelu was one of the country’s commercially most successful movies and initiated a period which would produce many more film musicals.
Daughter, a Czech short animated film by Daria Kashcheeva, has won the U.S.
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ student Oscar for best
animated film from international schools.
Kascheeva, a student of Prague’s Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts is the third Czech film director to win the prestigious award after Jan Svěrák and Marie Dvořáková, who won with their films Oil Gobblers (1989) and Who’s Who in Mycology (2017).
The award-giving gala ceremony in Los Angeles will take place on October 17.
"The Painted Bird" by Czech director Václav Marhoul received the
Cinema for UNICEF award from a student jury at the international film
festival in Venice on Friday.The award is traditionally given to the film
that best addresses children's rights issues.
Adapted from the 1965 novel of the same name by Polish-American writer Jerzy Kosinski, "The Painted Bird" is set in the Eastern Europe's countryside in the final phase of World War II, seen through the eyes of a little boy who encounters cruelty and violence.
Václav Marhoul said the award was fantastic news because it showed that young people had understood his film and its message.“Some critics wrote that the movie is all about brutality and violence, but the young audience saw exactly what I intended them to see: hope, light and humanity, so they actually counterbalanced some people's opinions,"Marhoul told the ctk news agency .
"The Painted Bird is not a war film, nor even a Holocaust film... the story forces us to ask ourselves many unpleasant questions, and to seek often very painful answers," Marhoul explained at the movie's presentation.
The film is competing for the festival‘s main award, the Golden Lion.
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