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Central European cinema in the spotlight at Paris film festivals

Paris, France – Czech, Slovak and Polish cinema will be in the Parisian spotlight this month with the 6th edition of the Czech-In Film Festival and 12th edition of the Festival Kinopolska, both held in the French capital.

Last month, the Paris-based cultural association Kino Visegrad had also offered a series of screenings and debates marking the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Iron Curtain. The event showcased the newest filmmaking trends in Central Europe, and presented, through the filmmakers’ point of view, the ways in which profound changes have taken place since 1989 in Hungarian, Polish, Slovak and Czech societies.

Czech-In Film Festival (12-16 November)

Opening today, the 6th Czech and Slovak Czech-In Film Festival will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution and explore the recent transformations of Czech and Slovak societies. Through its choice of 5 films, the Festival wishes to shed light on how life was before the fall of the Iron Curtain as well as on the current challenges the two countries face today.

According to Festival Director Markéta Hodoušková, interviewed by Czech Radio, the aim of this year’s edition was also to honour female directors and actresses after previous editions were strongly male-dominated.

The opening film, Milada (2017), follows the life of Milada Horáková, a victim of the communist regime who was executed by the Czechoslovakia communist party on fabricated charges of conspiracy and treason in the 1950s. The movie will be presented by its director, David Mrnka, and the daughter of Milada Horáková, Jana Kánská, who will be coming to the festival from the United States. The second movie, Radim Špaček’s The Golden Betrayal (Zlatý podraz, 2018), also explores that period between the two totalitarian regimes and tells the real story of a Czechoslovak basketball team during that time.

Zlatý-podraz-czech-in-film-festival-2
The Golden Betrayal (Zlatý podraz, 2018) tells the real story of a Czechoslovak basketball team. Credit: Ceska Televize

Irena Pavlásková’s Time of the Servants (Čas sluhů, 1989), the first post-Revolution Czechoslovak film to win an award at Cannes, in 1990, will be this year’s edition’s only film to have been shot the year of the Velvet Revolution. It will be screened in 35mm. The fourth film will explore the times Czechoslovakia split into two independent states through Slovak director Tereza Nvotová’s documentary, Mečiar (2017), about Slovakia’s controversial Prime minister, Vladimir Mečiar.

The 6th edition of the Czech-In Film Festival will be concluded on Saturday by the screening of Moments (Chvilky, 2018), presented by director Beata Parkanová and lead actress Jenovéfa Boková, who won the Czech Lion Award for Best Actress.

Here’s the full program.

Festival Kinopolska (29 November – 2 December)

For its 12th edition, the Festival Kinpolska, the Polish film festival organised by the Polish Institute in Paris, will be held as per usual at one of the French capital’s most iconic cinemas, Le Balzac, meters away from the Champs-Elysées.

It will present some of the Polish films presented at the Gdynia Film Festival in 2018 and 2019, as well as a tribute to Witold Gombrowicz organised by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, with the presence of prominent Polish guests, such as Jacek Borcuch, Jacek Braciak, Jan Komasa, Lukasz Sikora, Jagoda Szelc.

The festival will open on 29 November with Polish director Filip Bajon’s two latest films, Panie Dulskie (2015), followed by The Butler (Kamerdyner, 2018). Both of them will be presented by the director.

The spotlight of last year’s edition was on female directors, with four out of the six movies presented directed by women, but it was Piotr Domalewski who took home the coveted Prize of the Jury for Silent Night (Cicha Noc). Olga Chajdas won the Prize of the Public for Nina.

In the meantime, here’s the English trailer for David Mrnka’s Milada (2017), opening the Czech-In Film Festival tonight:

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