We’ve had various international film festivals make its rounds in Malaysia – the European Union Film Festival was held at the end of last year, and before that, the Japanese Film Festival in September.
In March, the Czech Republic Film Festival adds its name to the list as the new kid on the block with five movies that will be screened over a four-day period (March 9 to 12) at Golden Screen Cinemas (GSC) outlets in the Klang Valley.
“The Czech Republic has a rich and accomplished history of filmmaking which we would like to share with Malaysian audiences. We are looking forward to showcasing five high-quality Czech movies in the greater Kuala Lumpur area. The film festival is part of our effort to reach out to the Malaysian public and to enhance bilateral cultural understanding,” says Rudolf Hykl, Czech Republic Ambassador to Malaysia.
The movies featured in the inaugural Czech Republic Film Festival are Dark Blue World, Elementary School, Kolya – these three are directed by Czech film director Jan Sverák with screenplay by his father, Zdenek Sverák – Oldies But Goldies, and A Vote For The King Of The Romans.
“These movies present strong human interest stories, interesting dialogue and screenplay, a witty sense of humour … they portray real life situations realistically and often point out the absurdities of human behaviour. The scenes do not lack attention to detail and the acting is excellent; indeed, the actors are some of the best we have had in the last decades. Also, acclaimed director Jan Sverák, who directs three of the movies, has won two Oscars so far for his work,” notes Hykl.
“The film festival aims to present the art of Czech filmmaking to both film experts and the general public. I am sure that culture enthusiasts will be treated to a great cinematographic experience. Last, but not least, I hope they will learn a bit more about a distant Central European country, which is the Czech Republic. I hope the Malaysian audience will enjoy these movies, this is the only ambition we have,” concludes Hykl.
Dark Blue World (Tmavomodrý svet)
When Czechoslovakia is invaded, two Czech pilots, the veteran Franta and young trainee Karel, flee to Britain and join the Royal Air Force. When Karel’s plane is hit and he bails out over the countryside, he is taken in by an English woman whose husband is missing in action. Sparks fly between them, but how do they reconcile when she hits it off with Franta as well? And what happens when the war ends?
The Elementary School (Obecná skola)
This is the first collaboration between Czech film director Jan Sverák and his scriptwriter father Zdenek Sverák, a comedy feature film that had its premiere in 1991. Set in mid-1940s Prague in an all-boys school, two 10-year-olds drive their teacher crazy with their wild antics, resulting in her being replaced with the larger-than-life Hnizdo, who is rumoured to be a war hero.
Dedicated to bachelorhood and the pursuit of women, a Czech cellist enjoys a carefree lifestyle, free of responsibilities. Strapped for cash, he agrees to a marriage of convenience and finds himself in quite a pickle after his new bride flees and he is left with her five-year-old son who doesn’t even speak the same language he does. This film is directed by Jan Sverák and stars his father, Zdenek Sverák.
A Vote For The King Of The Romans (Hlas pro rímského krále)
What did it take to get Charles IV elected? How did “the biggest of Czechs” rise to power? July 1346: it is time to elect a new king. The only candidate is the Moravian Margrave, Charles, who is watching the election in disguise. The key person who can tip the balance is his very own father… but political intrigues and outcomes are not always easy to predict.
Oldies But Goldies (Vrásky z lásky)
Ota is a retired high-school teacher with a high-risk eye operation looming. Jana is a retired actress who lives in a retirement home. He decides to look her up, but the reunion works out very differently from his expectations.
This bittersweet comedy follows these two people who are adamant about living life to the fullest, despite – or perhaps because of – their age.
Screenings are free of charge, courtesy of the Czech Republic Embassy. However, you still need to get tickets; these can be collected at participating GSC outlets (Mid Valley Megamall, Pavilion KL and 1Utama Shopping Centre), while stocks last. For more information, visit http://ift.tt/2m4THxA or www.gsc.com.my.