If you’re not able to get to the Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival this week, you can catch up on a season of short films at home. Films from the Short Joy category are streaming for free on the Doc Alliance website from 22 to 28 October to coincide with the festival.
Czechfilm.co.uk will be reporting from the festival. One of the highlights is retrospective on Alberto Cavalcanti, Brazilian born director and producer famous for his contributions to the GPO Film Unit and Ealing Studios. The use of a documentary style in post war Ealing films set the scene for the films of the British New Wave in the 50s and 60s.
Of course we’ll take the opportunity to review new Czech documentaries and others that catch our eye. There’s a selection of documentaries from North Korea, and a programme of Communist era Czechoslovakian documentaries about North Korea. The Chinese dissident Ai Weiwei is featured in the film Never Sorry.Tariq Ali will talk about subjects that are not covered by documentary film.Three members of the Ukrainian activist movement FEMEN will be at the Inspriration Forum.
Last year they wrapped the Prior supermarket that sits in Masaryskovo Námesti, the main square. This year it looks like the square will be filled with a maze. In the meantime here’s a postcard from 1987 of Jihlava, including Prior and Masaryskovo Námesti and a rather lovely yellow Škoda 110R
Břetislav Pojar, legendary director and screenwriter of animated films, died on Friday 12 October 2012. He started his career under Jiři Trnka in the 1930s. There are many online tributes to his life and work. There’s a good one on Cartoon Brew.
That sounds like some of my favourite things…
The programme is out for the 16th London Czech film festival in November. This year the Czech Centre in London has gone for a combination of new films and contemporary Czech jazz.You can find out more on the Czech Centre’s website.
One highlight is the screening of the Czech animation Alois Nebel followed by a performance of the original score by Umakart on Friday 9 November at Riverside Studios, London.
New film In the Shadow of the Horse (Ve stínu) has been nominated by for an Oscar in the best foreign language film category. A film noir set in 1950s Czechoslovakia it has topped Czech box offices for the first three weeks of its release.
Any excuse to mention the legendary Jára Cimrman!
The Jára Cimrman Theatre in Žižkov
Today 55 Czech cinemas are celebrating the 45th anniversary of the first Cimrman play Akt (Nude) by screening a live performance of the latest play České nebe (Czech Heaven) from the Jára Cimrman Theatre Žižkov, Prague. Find out more on this Czech website
The broadcast is directed by Jan Svěrák and the play stars his father Zdeněk Svěrák.
Zdeněk Svěrák and Ladislav Smoljak
Jára Cimrman was the centre of controversy in 2005 when he was excluded from Czech Television’s Greatest Czech contest on the grounds that he was not a real person. Cimrman is linked to Czech theatre and film legends Zdeněk Svěrák and the late Ladislav Smoljak.
A good excuse to visit Prague sometime between now and May next year. The Czech National Film Archive in Prague is showing a season of the best films from the 1960’s Czechoslovak New Wave.
The films are aimed at tourists, foreign visitors and ex-pats living in Prague with two films showing every other Saturday evening. The season starts on 6 October with Daisies (Sedmikrásky) and Fruit of Paradise (Ovoce stromů rajských jíme), both directed by Věra Chytilová.
The films are showing at the Bio Ponrepo in the historic centre of Prague. Four films are showing each month, all in the original version with English subtitles. Find out more here.
Czech film distributors Aerofilms have launched the beta version of their video on demand platform, Aerovod. The site offers streamed films for under £2 (55kč) and downloads for £3 (90kč).
Current offerings include Private Universe (Soukromý vesmír) by Helena Třeštíková. Private Universe was released this summer, and follows a family for 37 years from the birth of their son. Film of the family is cut with the progress of the space race and the career of Karel Gott, Czeckoslovak superstar of the communist era.
Although an English interface is offered, there do not appear to be subtitles on the films. Aerofilms say they are showing films that were popular in their three Prague cinemas; Kino Aero, Bio Oko and Světozor.