Herbert Lom died today aged 95. Born in Prague (then in the Austro-Hungarian Empire) in 1917, he escaped to Britain in 1939. He began his film career in Czechoslovakia in 1937, and had shortened his name from the implausibly long Herbert Karel Angelo Kuchacevič ze Schluderpacheru (that’s what you get for having aristocratic parents). His role in the original The Ladykillers (1955) is one of my favourites. There’s another anglo-czech connection there: the cinematographer for The Ladykillers was Prague born Otto Heller.
You’re more likely to find mention of independent cinemas here than Multiplex chains. However, today the multiplex Cinestar Praha – Anděl hosts the Czech premier of the digital restoration of Miloš Forman’s The Fireman’s Ball (Hoří, má panenko).
Originally released in 1967, the film was nominated for an academy award for foreign film. It was Forman’s first film in colour and his last in Czechoslovakia. The film was “banned forever” after the Russian invasion of 1968.
The Feature films of Czech animator and surrealist Jan Švankmajer have just been re-released by Czech company Anathor. I’m not sure how postage to the UK works, but they have English as well as other subtitles. Visit Anathor’s website for more information and trailers Anathor.cz
We’re spoilt for choice with new Czech films and events over the next few months.
If you find yourself in Ostrava, Czech Republic, next Monday 24 September, you could see the premiere of the new documentary: Karel Reisz Ten filmovy život (This filming life).
Free documentary streams
If you’re quick you can see free streams of five recent Czech documentary films on the Doc Alliance site. Films include Race to the Bottom and Solar Eclipse.
London Film Festival
Solar Eclipse is showing as part of this years London Film Festival alongside Love in the Grave, Made in Ash and Long Live the Family!. This will be followed in November by films showing at Riverside Studios, more details soon!