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28.7.2012 – There Is an End to Everything

These lines are being written in a moment when several good things still lie before us (a second try to bear a wonderful but a bit long Lawrence of Arabia for instance). However, the festival is already officially closed at this moment. Instead of statesmanlike news and statistics (don’t worry, those will come too), we would just like to quote the hot owner of the ACFC Annual Award István Szabó: “An average film lasts one and half hour. It means that this is the time a director takes from each person watching it. There are about three hundreds of such people here. Multiply it. It thus has to be time which is not wasted.” Hence, we would like to note, with pride (that sometimes borders with arrogance), that a lot of minutes definitely haven’t been wasted during this year´s Summer Film School.

28.7.2012 – Shooting in Exile

Abbás Kiarostami talked mainly about his shooting abroad during the today´s Lesson of Film. Two of his latest films were made outside Iran - Certified Copy in Italy and Like Someone In Love in Japan. “Shooting was very pleasant and easy in both countries,” relished the valued director. However, he also complained a bit: “Neither actors nor environment were essentially bound to my soul. My films from Iran make me feel like if I were completely bare. When I was competing with Taste of Cherry in Cannes, I was terribly nervous. However, I was snoozing during the premiere of my latest two films.” Nevertheless, working abroad is unfortunately a necessity for Kiarostami now. His films haven’t been broadcasted in Iran for fifteen years and he could direct a film in his beloved native land only at costs of fighting with censors.
 

28.7.2012 – Flower Premiere

Anarchy, poetics and feminist revolution have come! Daisies are back in cinemas! The first colour film by Věra Chytilová from 1966 has filled up the very last free place in this year´s reconstructed version of Project 100 under the “Czech Classic” headline and thus joined West Side Story, The Bohemian Life and Trainspotting. Project 100 is, just as the Summer Film School, event of the Association of Czech Film Clubs and thus it was the audience of Hvězda Cinema who could enjoy being the first one to watch a cleaned picture of the new DCP copy. The director didn’t trudge to Moravia in such hot weather; however, she sent a lot of greetings and kept an eye on her movie to look good in its digital version.

28.7.2012 – Sisyphus Work of an Animator

Marcell Jankovics was working on his animated opus The Tragedy of Man for more than twenty years. “I am probably predestined to make my life´s work a big battle,” sighed the animator during his today´s Lesson of Film. He shot his short movie Sisyphus in 1974 “to kind of demonstrate the amount of work necessary for making a feature animated film.” Sisyphus has been awarded a lot of prizes, including one from a children jury in Tehran. Children knew well also the character from his next film The Son of the White Horse. They have often been threatened by their parents who tell them that the white horse will take them away if they don’t finish eating their dinner. The author, well-known at home mainly for his Hungarian film fairy tales, started preparing his The Tragedy of Man, an admirable two-hour-and-half-long sight, in 1983. This one is not suitable for children anymore, however, you could be enriched by this unique philosophising deed. All you have to do is to come to Reduta tonight at 11 pm.
 

28.7.2012 – Hungarian Individualists in Waves

Mircea Dan Duta from the Romanian Cultural Institute came back to Hradiště after a year. This time he didn’t come because of cinematography of his native land, but to summarize situation of his neighbours in Hungary. “Hungarian film is interpreted according to its directors. Hungarians themselves, at least the right-wing part of review, don’t accept any waves,” noted Duta at the beginning of his lecture. However, he personally does not agree with that and thus conceived his brief lecture according to generations. “In the 50s, there was a so-called wave of morality. New wave in the 60s focused on social and political situation in Hungary, it was obsessed with Hungarian history and truth. It positively influenced the new generation which arose around 2000 but was negatively influenced by mainstream of the 90s.”
A Bus Came, the short story movie from 2004 could be regarded as a manifesto of this new generation connected with interest in contemporary stories, narrative minimalism and aesthetics of ugliness. “But don’t ask the directors about it, each of them wants to be an individual artist who is not related to others,” stated Duta.
 

27.7.2012 – Birdie Trapped Again

Why did Radana Korená, the SFS director, buy a brand new dress? The correct answer is... because of Abbás Kiarostami, one of the most precious guests of this year´s Summer Film School. She was wearing it tonight when the Iranian director was awarded the ACFC Annual Award. “I would like to thank you for the whole festival, it was beautiful,” said the Golden Palm from Cannes winner. This statue of the so-called Club Birdie wasn’t the only award he received in Uherské Hradiště. “Spectators, who managed to watch movies in this boiling weather – that is recognition. You have the most fantastic audience in the world, be proud of it,” said Kiarostami and thus immediately won the hearts of the audience in Hvězda Cinema.
The filmmaker István Szabó in person awarded Kiarostami with this prize and will actually receive the same “Birdie” tomorrow. Why he? “A man came to me and congratulated me on my nice movies, but unfortunately I didn’t know it was Mr. Szabó. I was living all those years in Iran with his films and now I didn’t even recognize him! To compensate this, I asked him to be the one to award me,” explained Abbás Kiarostami. You can meet him on his Lesson of Film in our inflatable cinema at 5.30 pm tomorrow.
 

27.7.2012 – Power of Film, Stars and Faces

The forth Lesson of Film was dedicated to István Szabó. “However, I am not a lecturer. I will tell you what I think and if you don’t like it, we can talk about it,” pointed Szabó at the beginning of his lecture. He believes that film differs from other forms of art by one and only thing. “It is able to capture a detail of a human face where emotions are changing. A live face on which you can see an idea being born.” It is the audience that afterwards chooses faces that become film stars since stars represent their days, moods and movements which Szabó supported with a brief summary of Hollywood star names. “Take Greta Garbo for instance. She became a star in times when a lot of people thought, mainly due to politics, that it is better to wear a uniform and hide behind it, that it is important to belong to a group and be safe there. And Greta Garbo was probably the only one who managed to be dignified all the time, to be always her own self. That is what everybody wanted but was afraid of.”
After this introduction about power of actors´ faces and film which is able to create symbols and manipulate with reality, the audience had a chance to ask their own questions or listen to Szabó´s dialogue with Pavel Sladký about topics and style of Szabó´s movies. The director states that he prefers to analyze other filmmakers, nevertheless, he is able to talk about his own self too. “I am not a director who would like to have his own style. I have never made an “István Szabó´s film. I want to tell stories that are entertaining and understandable for the audience. And each story requires a different approach,” said the director and remembered being really happy when saw the Karlovy Vary Festival audience applauding his new film The Door. You can give him the same joy tomorrow after the closing ceremony in Hvězda Cinema where his drama about two women will be broadcasted at 7.30 pm.
 

27.7.2012 – Ondřej Vetchý, a Sensitive Sceptic

The only this year´s Lesson of Film in Czech language was dedicated to the actor Ondřej Vetchý who revealed his opinions on film, time, colleagues and himself this afternoon. He talked about snags of fame (“I evoke something decided in people. They create an opinion on me although we have never met. And if I don’t fit in this opinion, they want to pick a fight with me.”) He also remembered his years at dramatic school (“It was crazy, we just tried to survive it.”), his teachers, Jaroslava Adamová for instance (“For twenty years she shouted at me: Ondra, take up this profession!”) as well as meetings with directors (“Jiří Krejčík was a brilliant director. We are still friends. He is more than 90 years old but his brain is unbelievable.”) Vetchý, one of the best Czech actors, is however very sceptical concerning our time. “We live in a period when probably nobody is going to concern if something is real. Dictatorship of money and banality is the one that governs. However, lack of systematic work with actors results in absence of great personalities like Petr Čepek or Josef Abrhám.”
 

27.7.2012 – Three Hours in Hungary

Not all three-hour-long movies with music by Maurice Jarré were made by David Lean. One of them was directed by István Szabó. In 1999 with Ralph Fiennes in the main three roles. “It should have been a Hungarian film, but I was looking for a producer for seven years without any success. Then a friend of mine called me saying that he was going to produce it but according to the budget, it had to be a film in English and with stars. I could agree or not direct the film in Hungarian,” the director explained why this story of Hungarian history sounds so English.
Sunshine does need a three-hour-long footage. It tells a story of faiths of three generations of one family and three political regimes. “For me it is a film about the need to fulfil a challenge. It is a terrible male feature. Each of the three characters wants to comply with momentary social demand,” explained Szabó during discussion after screening of this film. “People are faithful to their political beliefs, but those are not faithful to them.” It was no surprise that the discussion about this drama, inspired by several real faiths, revolved around serious topics. However, the director included also a short cultural intermezzo and performed a Hungarian folk song.
 

27.7.2012 – Upsy-daisy!

Last evening belonged to screening of the (non)sports documentary by Pavel Abrahám titled Two Nil, which was greeted really positively in the crowded Hvězda Cinema. It doesn’t deal with practical aspects of all that playing with a round nonsense (Pavel Abrahám: “It is a film about football without football.”) but with fans of Sparta and Slavie football clubs in the time of the traditional derby. All the things happening on the terraces, where all cameras were pointed to, could be probably best described by Bohumil Hrabal in a punk mood. Wherefore we won´t try to do it here and wait for the official premiere at cinemas, timed by the ACFC for 25th October.
 

26.7.2012 – Stoker of Russian Bodies

Not only beginning young man, as for instance our this year´s SFS guest and Atomic Ivan author Vasilij Barchatov, feature in the overview of Contemporary Russian Film. You can find some favourite veterans too. Alexej Balabanov, the author of Brother, the iconic crime story from the 90s, is one of the examples. He professes a rather absurd poetics which he uses, in his own way, to mock or criticise social and political chaos in Russia after dissolution of the Soviet Union. How does it look like in practise? Like the slow black sad tough comedy The Stoker about a veteran from Yakutia who now throws coal into the furnace, and sometimes a body, brought by his friends from war, too. Luckily, the story is interpreted with exaggeration. If you are interested in some information about other possible tough pieces made in Russia these days, come to our discussion on the contemporary Russian cinematography and culture to Reduta at 1.30 tomorrow.

26.7.2012 – Avatar of the Silent Film

The Summer Film School likes its audience a lot and really enjoys preparing some extraordinary experiences for its spectators. Screening of the recently restored copy of the colorized A Trip to the Moon version is one of good examples of these activities. This fantasy by Georges Melies was something like Avatar in the field of silent film, a very popular spectatorial hit. Just the author himself didn’t make much money for it since film piracy (but not much copyright) existed already at the beginning of the 20th century.
This famous innovative example of the so-called cinematography of attractions is celebrating its 110th birthday this year. As David Čeněk pointed out during his introduction to the performance, films were watched in a very different way then. “Cinema was a really busy place where people were smoking, eating, drinking, talking,...” A Trip to the Moon was also one of those pictures that were accompanied by a read commentary which explained why and who is running so confusedly on the screen. The Summer Film School bet on natural intelligence of its audience and thus offered “just” electronic sounds of the musician Jan Plíhal as accompaniment. We wanted the audience to really appreciate this colorized version and the possibility to see it, so we also included the documentary Strange Voyage summarizing Melies´ career and importance as well as the whole really demanding process of discovery and restoration of the above mentioned colour copy.

26.7.2012 – Gong of the South?

Song of the South, a partly animated, but mainly actors musical (never screened in the Czech Republic) is definitely the most controversial work born under the baton of Walt Disney, to top it all, in 1946, thus time when Disney was still alive. The filmmakers, drawing inspiration from folk stories collected and published towards the close of the 19th century by Joel Chandler Harris, probably weren’t “real” racists and meant many things well. However, due to their simple ignorance, what resulted was a movie with omnipresent stereotypes about the period South (spokesman of the studio warned, nonetheless vainly, that the film should take place AFTER the civil war and that the blacks there weren’t slaves, but “employees”) that vibrated perception and indignation of the stronger and stronger movement for coequality of the Afro-Americans. Thus, the movie was... well, not banned, but fell into disgrace and hasn’t been officially broadcasted in America for 37 years. The afternoon ninety-minute-long lecture of the professor Thomas Inge explained what the comrades from America fucked up during making the film.

26.7.2012 – Easy Readers, Raging Translators

Easy Riders, Raging Bulls, the book by Peter Biskind definitely belongs among the most substantial deeds in film history, being the most substantial book ever written, though never published in our country (what a sin!). However, from now on, this is not true anymore – well, the second part of the previous sentence. Today, few minutes before 2pm, the Czech version of this book, telling about era of the so-called New Hollywood, was baptized in Reduta. It looks rather luxurious, though has nothing to do with an extreme price. Just a little information for those who have not been put in the picture yet: New Hollywood was a period (mainly in the 70s) when the best films were made by filmmakers like Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Hal Ashby, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas etc. etc.
Co-authors of the translation are Iva Hejlíčková and Michael Málek who admit that this was really hard work (you´ll understand as soon as you read the book). However, they performed this task with a steadfast verve and punctilious thoroughness. Málek, proud of the result, just remarked: “If you find a mistake there, then you´re really, really good.”

26.7.2012 – Director of Silence

Vimikthi Jayasundara was one of those who gave us a chance to listen to his film experience. This young talent comes from Sri Lanka, country disturbed by war for a long time. “I have seen so many dead people in my life. I saw tsunami in 2004, I saw people dying in war, I saw my father dying. Probably that is why I like silence so much. Silence in a movie can say really a lot,” revealed author of valued movies like Forsaken Land or Land of Silence.
The director talked also about problems with censorship he has in his native land. “Sexual scenes have to be edited from the movies, that is a matter of course. Those censors call themselves “editors”, but their work is to edit “unsuitable scenes”. A character in my movie Empty for Love has sex with a tree. I had to explain everywhere that this is not a documentary film, that it is nothing but fiction, that it really doesn’t mean I want to have sex with a tree, but that it is just an art expression.”

25.7.2012 – Focus: István Szabó

Bence Fliegauf has already left, however, now you can talk about the Hungarian film to István Szabó. In one of today´s discussions, audience got his recommendation of what should not be omitted in the Focus: Hungary section. He also explained the difference between Hungarian new wave and today´s era. “Films of the new wave gave evidence of things and people understood them, that was the essence of the new wave. Now we do have great movies. Nevertheless, they either don’t say anything or are not understood by the spectators.”
The Hungarian Focus naturally didn’t miss out Szabó´s works. The Oscar winner Mephisto for instance, film about a talented actor who gets involved with the Nazi. The story is based on Klaus Mann´s novel from 1936 which was banned in Germany for a long time. “But we had no problems when making the film,” stated the director who you can meet today after screening of his films or on the Lesson of Film on Friday.

25.7.2012 – Bad Husband, Good Director

He directed sixteen films and gained twenty-six Oscars. He went down in history as a director who managed to harmonize big visual show with depth typical for psychological dramas. Those were the introductory words of the SFS program director Iva Hejlíčková in her lecture on David Lean, whose films she personally chose for one of this year´s retrospectives. “He got married six times but all his marriages ended. He always preferred his work. He didn’t have an idea of what loyalty, gratitude, or friendship is. He sacrificed everything to film. I do not think that he was a bad person, he was just very focused. He believed that just a devoted maniac is able to make a good film.” Story of Summertime shooting in Venice is a good example of this obsession for perfectness. In Venice, Lean continued shooting even after his producer had taken away all cameras and Lean had been expelled from Italy. Afterwards, the lecture summarized briefly but aptly Lean´s whole career. Personality of David Lean, which changed even into dictatorial during shooting of his famous epics like The Bridge on the River Kwai or Doctor Zhivago, is said to be best described in Stunt Man starring Peter O´Toole in the role based on Lean himself.

25.7.2012 – Anatomy of Assassination

The lecture, so detailed that didn’t manage to fit into its given 90 minutes, was prepared by Michal Burian, the director of the Military History Institute Museum. It concerned the Heydrich´s assassination, event which has its 70th anniversary this year and thus is widely written about. This year is actually the first year the Czechs started to be proud of the event. “Until 1989, this act was actually explained as a private action of the president Beneš who didn’t care about after-effects on Czech resistance and its inhabitants, and thus not as something we should boast about.” Colonel Burian also remarked what a bastard Heydrich was as the co-author of the Final Solution. Spectators could compete for a book and since winner was the one asking the most interesting question, there were a lot of them for Mr. Burian. He talked also about various new theories about details of the assassination. “The media is interested a lot in new discoveries nowadays. However, we should not explain history through sensations.”

25.7.2012 – Atomic Premiere

The international premiere of the comedy Atomic Ivan took place yesterday in the evening at Hvězda Cinema which was actually pretty apt since the cinema was originally built as an atomic shelter. Vasilij Barchatov, a blond young man not looking his 29 much, ran to the stage right before the screening. “I wanted you to see me to be able to understand that I simply couldn’t make a reasonable film.” He was right in this. The movie has become a bizarre crazy romantic comedy from a nuclear power station, in spite of the fact that Rosatom, one of the film´s producers, imagined it as a “light film about love with relation to atomic energy.” Barchatov really cannot be accused of making an advertisement of the above mentioned Russian federal agency for atomic energy. “Shooting in the power station was complicated, we had to have each tripod checked over and over again. However, I have been fascinated by the atomic power stations since I was a little boy. I was born in 1983 and Chernobyl exploded three years after that,” revealed the director. At the stage he was accompanied by the producer Viktoria Gromik and also the actor Grigorij Dobrygin who really enjoys being in Uherské Hradiště. “The Summer Film School has a beautiful atmosphere, very open and friendly and is very different from other film festivals I have been to.”

24.7.2012 – Bence Fliegauf Gives Advice

The first this year´s Lesson of Film was conducted by the Hungarian filmmaker Bence Fliegauf, the contemporary darling of art film circles. He gave a lot of advice to beginning colleagues there. For instance: “Don´t underestimate the power of vision. People are bored and thus it´s pretty easy to fanaticize them to follow us. Vanity and big ego help too.” There is either no sense in waiting for official support, added the several prestigious festival awards holder. “I made Forest with my own camera and some friends of mine and we won Forum section at Berlinale with it,” casts the director his mind back. He wasn’t accepted to the film school since the teachers had nothing to teach him. Dealer or Just the Wind titles author further explained why he preferred shooting with non-actors to professionals and why he didn’t care what others think about his movies, or why his films ended with subtitles running the other way round. “Writing subtitles is so boring, this makes it at least a little fun. Nevertheless, just geeks usually notice that.”

24.7.2012 – Lidice Filmed by Others

If you want to learn something about the Second World War, and Reinhard Heydrich´s assassination in particular, the historian Petr Koura is the one you should look for. He dedicated today´s Cinema Lecture to destruction of Lidice and its inhabitants, the great tragedy followed by a really extraordinary reaction abroad. In Britain for instance, the lyrical documentarist Humphrey Jennings shot a short film Silent Village in 1943, moving destiny of the Czech village to Wales. “The film was meant to provoke interest of the British people in the destiny of the Czechs. The Czechs Chamberlain after the Munich Agreement talked about when saying it is a nation which is not worthy to risk war for. This year, the film was broadcasted in the Czech Republic for the very first time.”
Second thirty-minute-long part of the program was filled by silent authentic shots from June 1942 which were made in Lidice at the very moment of its destruction. These shots were directed on the order of the Nazi themselves. “They made the shots to use them as their propaganda, but thanks to the very strong international reaction, the shots were finally not used at all. The shots were shown in public for the first time in Nuremberg,” stated Petr Koura.

24.7.2012 – David Lean Offers Laughter and Tears

When we say David Lean, not only exotic eposes with a footage requiring peeing break, come to our minds. This year´s retrospective at the SFS showed that there are other jewels made by the famous British director too. We can even find a ghost comedy. It is called Blithe Spirit, you can see young professor Higgins, well, sorry, Rex Harrison in it and it is based on a theatre play by Noel Coward, the British theatre star. And it was actually him Lean can be thankful to for becoming a director, since Coward, the famous dramatist and actor, called Lean to his propaganda movie In Which We Serve during the Second World War. This film was so appreciated that Coward invited Lean for cooperation when making other three films. This teamwork climaxed in Brief Encounter, the famous melodrama. After that, Lean wanted to stand on his own which resulted in the film based on Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, the movie which, among other things, started Alec Guiness´ film career. “Lean cleared the novel with a machete. However, his version is considered to be the best adaptation of Dickens today. It remained faithful to the novel´s tone,” mentioned Iva Hejlíčková in her introduction to Expectations. But how did Lean jump from those relatively modest adaptations of British novels to all those epics he was rewarded his two Oscars for? If you want to know, come to Iva Hejlíčková´s lecture at 1.30 pm.

24.7.2012 – Morally Restless Agnieszka Holland

The story how Agnieszka Holland became a significant director is shown in one of this year´s retrospectives at the SFS. Logically, it includes her key works too. Her Provincial Actors for instance, a drama the FAMU graduate made her debut with. It happened in August 1979, which was the time when Polish cinematography was cornered by the so-called Cinema of Moral Concern. “The country was experiencing big disillusion from the regime, which promised reformation, but changed nothing,” said Petr Vlček and thus introduced the film into context. The movie is showing actors from a theatrical troupe, preparing a patriotic play called Liberation. Nevertheless, not many of their high ideals remain until the opening night. “The film was greeted well in Poland, spectators understood all the references. Despite, or rather because of being tolerated by the government garniture, the film has not been awarded any official prizes.”

24.7.2012 – Slovak Day Celebrations

Martin Šulík is celebrating his fiftieth birthday. You can join his party in the inflatable Espace Corleans from 9 pm. The Slovak director is going to be awarded a nice birthday present – the Annual AČFK award – right before screening of his Everything I Love. The Sun in a Net is fifty this year too. This birthday is going to be celebrated today from 5 pm at Hvězda Cinema by screening of a restored copy of the romance which launched the Czechoslovakian new wave. It is no coincidence that both ceremonial projections are happening today – Tuesday is the Slovak day at the SFS.

23.7.2012 – A Trip with Fliegauf

This year´s SFS focuses on Hungarian films, including those by Bence Fliegauf, an outstanding personality of young generation of Hungarian filmmakers. His rising career was launched by the success of his drug drama Dealer causing a good purgatory of addiction to today´s audience of the Culture Club. However, the director himself doesn’t like watching this movie, inspired by several experiences of his junkie friends, much. “There is a terrifying energy coming from it. People keep telling me how depressing the film is, but this is the way I perceived the world then. They asked me how I could gather all the energy to make a film in such a state of despair. I finished the movie completely exhausted,” explained Fliegauf. “I am all right again now. I had a swim and tried riding a bike without handlebar today.” Dealer was greeted well in Hungary, and also drug addicts appreciated it. “Only those on psychedelic drugs hated it since it doesn’t show all those fantastic experiences.” Fliegauf presents his other works in Uherské Hradiště too, Just the Wind, awarded in Berlinale, or Milky Way can serve as good examples. “Just to give you an idea of the plot, I can mention the sentence someone wrote on IMDb – It is like a screen saver,” invited the filmmaker for his tomorrow´s screening.

23.7.2012 – With Atomic Ivan in Atomic Cover

The former atomic cover, known as Hvězda Cinema today, will experience an international premiere on Tuesday at 8.30 pm! Atomic Ivan, an art comedy about life in the neighborhood of a nuclear power station, will be broadcasted outside Russia for the very first time right here in Uherské Hradiště.
“Even today a lot of people think that nuclear scientists are suicides, so affected by their jobs that they almost put pieces of plutonium in their pockets with bare hands. Nevertheless, my intention was to show that the people working in nuclear power stations are interesting human beings with their own perception of the world, their personal problems as well as their own understanding of happiness,” says the director Vasilij Barchatov, who is, by the way, one of the most popular and youngest theatre directors of contemporary Russia.
The main role in his film debut was given to the even younger Grigorij Dobrygin, who will introduce also the title How I Ended This Summer, which he was awarded the Silver Bear in Berlin for. Both gentlemen and also the producer Viktoria Gromik are going to take part in the discussion on contemporary Russian film on 27th July.

23.7.2012 – Harold Lloyd Hardens Music

SFS guests still do love silent movies with life music, as is absolutely obvious from their great interest and tumultuous ovations. This year mainly slapsticks are the movies backed by Czech bands. And this year, slapsticks starring Him, also known as Harold Lloyd, are the ones you have a chance to see. Ještě jsme se nedohodli (four-member band that helped to form Brno new scene in the 80s) are the ones in charge of The Kid Brother title. In this movie, Harold saves his father – a sheriff – from lynching and town money from the hands of robbers! This comedy dates back to 1927 which was the time of peak as well as final era of silent movie. It is not very typical for Lloyd, however, this movie is set in the countryside and that enabled the comedian to include several domestic animals in his gags. He himself was very fond of the result and all who saw this film deed this afternoon, can tick one more item in the list of the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.

23.7.2012 – A New Star in Sri Lanka Discovered

Name of the Summer Film School is not just accidental. It is called a “film school” since you really can learn a lot here every year. You can also get to know authors you haven’t known before. As for example Vimukthi Jayasundara, a bright hope of Sri Lanka cinematography. His country, disturbed by the long civil war, can be – thank to him – proud of the Golden Camera award from Cannes, which Jayasundara was awarded for his debut Forsaken Land. However, it cannot be said that his countrymen appreciated this wonderful success in an enthusiastic way.
“When I was making the film in 2004, we had a truce in Sri Lanka, so it was possible to make a film about war. But later, already during the opening night, there was no truce anymore and when I broadcasted the film in Sri Lanka, lots of journalists were against it, saying that there is a lot of nonsense, that I support the rebels or am entangled in western conspiracies. The movie stayed in cinemas for just two weeks, distributors as well as cinema owners were afraid, and some threats reached even me,” said the young author.

22.7.2012 – Manifesto for the New Film

Fifty years ago, on 28th February 1962, German directors read the so-called Oberhausen Manifesto stating that the old film is dead. You can see the way this short, racy text proved in practise every day from 5 pm in Reduta. Blocks of short movies (feature footage was despised by Oberhausen directors) are presented by our favourite SFS guest, Olaf Möller. If you consider some of the works a bit bizarre, you don’t need to be afraid of insulting him. “Sometimes we feel the same way about them in Germany too.”
It is true that Möller warned the audience already in the introduction on the first evening, saying that “the new German film is nothing to laugh at.” However, all who know him don’t believe it at all and look forward to his manifesto lecture on 26th July in the afternoon.

22.7.2012 - Reinhard Heydrich Assassination According to Hollywood

What was the image of Heydrich´s Assassination like in Hollywood? The famous German emigrant, Fritz Lang, showed his own interpretation already in 1943, when directed Hangmen Also Die! in the US and adapted situation in the protectorate to taste of the American audience. Which means that heroic Czech unite and don’t turn the assassinators in. Nevertheless, such portrait of horrific times caused laughter rather than fear. “However, Americans hold this movie in high regard, it has a very high evaluation on IMDb,” stated Aleš Říman and his colleague Petr Koura added that K. H. Frank saw the movie for the first time in Czechoslovakia. “The Nazi elite were interested in it.”
Two left-wingers, Bertold Brecht and Hanns Eisler, “Karl Marx of film music” and later author of GDR anthem, are the authors. The film assassinator of Heydrich is connected to the Czech resistance also thanks to their influence. “The Czechoslovakian movie The Key attempted to show a similar interpretation and this movie is absolutely terrible. We show it on Tuesday,” Aleš Říma invited spectators to another jewel of the Reinhard Heydrich Assassination section. However, the historian Koura pointed out that we can´t blame just the filmmakers for the historic inaccuracy. “Those days the Czechoslovakian exile propaganda claimed the assassination to be an operation of the Czech resistance.”

22.7.2012 – Psychopaths and Celebrities

Peppermint Frappé is the oldest of four movies presented by Carlos Saura in Uherské Hradiště. It is a story about a fetishist who wants to possess the woman he fell in love with at all costs. “I suppose that we all are a bit of psychopaths, aren’t we?” was the director´s answer to question put by a curious spectator who asked why there were so many mentally disturbed characters in Spanish movies.
Saura has lots of nice memories on this tragicomedy from 1967. For the first time he was shooting with Gerald Chaplin. “We lived together for a long time afterwards and we have a lot of children.” Thanks to her, Saura met Charlie Chaplin too. He liked Peppermint Frappé so much that he sent Saura a letter. Stanley Kubrick was enthusiastic about the movie too. “He called me to say that I am the only person able to make Spanish versions of his own movies,” boasted Carlos Saura.

22.7.2012 – Midnight Black Blockbusters

Jiří Flígl (apart from other things a script editor of the Hardened Spectator Festival) started his lecture on blaxploitation, this year´s midnight film menu, with a trailer for the blockbuster Abar: The First Black Superman. To be able to reveal what is hidden under the title, he had to mention rules of exploitation movies first. “A general idea is that these are movies about violence, nudity and other shocking things. Nevertheless, such topics can be found in any “Jean Claude Van Damme movies”. The way how exploitation treats them is the key thing,” explained Flígl, adding that exploitation movies are the ones which will confirm the worst prejudices you have about nuns or country bumpkins. Blaxploitation films are the ones that exceed this definition. Generally, they are black movies with black heroes and for black audience. And they do not include just the tough crime stories praised by Tarantino in Jackie Brown. “This is just the most famous fragment of this production. There were black western and horror movies, musicals as well as cartoons too. And also art movies.”
This parallel pop culture is often considered to be demonstration of American black society emancipation. However, Flígl warned us not to forget that this was mainly about money too. “At the end of the 60s, Hollywood studios were in crises, mainly due to decrease in visitors. Thus, they needed something which doesn’t cost much but will regularly bring profit in abandoned town cinemas before multiplexes are built on the suburbs.”

22.7.2012 – With Lawrence in the Dessert

Every film lover should see Lawrence from Arabia from a 70mm copy at least once in his lifetime, says the well-known American critic Roger Ebert. Many SFS spectators can make a tick next to this task after yesterday´s screening. Despite they didn’t see the David Lean´s classic from the 70mm copy, but from a new digitalized one, made for Lawrence´s 50th birthday this year, the experience was beautiful and magnificent.
This nearly four-hour-long epos crowned with seven Oscars follows adventures of the British lieutenant T.E. Lawrence on the Arabic peninsula during the First World War where he tries to unite Arabian tribes. “Lawrence is a typical Lean´s hero, an obsessed lunatic with a fixed idea,” reminded Michael Málek in his introduction. You will have another chance to prove yourselves as real film fans during the last festival night next Saturday.

22.7.2012 – With Saura in the Wilderness

This year´s SFS spectators have already learnt that Carlos Saura is a very energetic guy with sense of humour who likes discussions with the audience, especially the ones that take place after screening of his movies. As after El Dorado, the officially opening film of the 38th SFS.
“Critics in Spain didn’t like the fact that I portray the Spanish conquering of South America in a negative way. They think that it was something marvellous. However, we followed historic sources, the director commented on reactions to this movie where Indians are murdered by his countrymen.
This epic from 1987 represents an exception in Saura´s works. Mainly due to its violence. “It was necessary here but otherwise I don’t like senseless killing. That´s why I don’t like Tarantino. I´m sorry to say that because he talks so nicely about me.” And does the Spanish classic like the movie Aguirre, the Wrath of God where Werner Herzog pictures the same conqueror trip? “The first part is beautiful, but the second one is just a romanticizing lie.”

21.7.2012 – Marathon with Fifteen Parts

Fifteen hours. This is the amount of time you can spend listening to the voice of Severoir Mark Cousins and his documentary movie The Story of Film: An Odyssey. This project is absolutely extraordinary due to its length as well as its worldwide content mapping the whole history of cinematography. However, there´s no need to be afraid – this is not a boring lecture. As all, who met Cousins at the Karlovy Vary festival, already know, you can definitely feel the love to film from this curly Tilda Swinton´s boyfriend in a very strong way.
“Just don´t believe everything you see, he isn’t absolutely precise in some formal things,” pointed Věroslav Hába during his introduction to the first part. This year´s Summer Film School gives you a chance to see this documentary based on Cousins´ book of the same name every day at 5 pm (with re-runs the next morning). Not the whole thing though, you can see it in two-hour-long blocks (starting tomorrow). We sure want to enable the audience to remember something from these Cousins´ interesting observations.

21.7.2012 Eden Apples Bitten, Saura Awarded

The opening ceremony of the 38th Summer Film School was very healthy. Each person invited to the stage was given a green apple. A real one, not the digital one from this year´s theme. Representatives of the main partners, both SFS directors as well as the minister of defence, Alexandr Vondra, all took a bite. Just Carlos Saura did not, putting it straight to his pocket, simply to be able to speak and introduce his El Dorado movie and thank for the ACFC annual award he got for his creative portray of time in human psyche. “The award is really nice, it looks a bit like me. I hope that this experience will charge me with lots of new energy. I am only a bit disappointed that the minister came with no machine gun or pistols,” the Spanish director commented on Alexandr Vondra´s appearance after being awarded with the prize from him. At that moment, this year´s summer film paradise had already been officially launched for several minutes. Don´t hesitate and savour its fruits until the next Saturday.

21.7.2012 – Operation Anthropoid Launched

Alexandr Vondra, the minister of defence himself, was the one who cut the ribbon which symbolically opened the path in front of Hotel Grand (Palacký Square 349). There you can find ten well arranged double-sided display panels remembering the Operation Anthropoid by both text and photographs. It was an operation of Czech foreign resistance with the aim to kill the Deputy Reich-Protector Reinhard Heydrich.
“People walked on their tip toes around this event, they were not sure if it really was worthy or not. Nevertheless, this perception has changed and the Czechs even start to be proud of it,” said the minister. He, as well as the SFS director, Radana Korená, hope that the important chapter from the history will be brushed up by younger people, attending the SFS in high number, too. Apart from this exhibition, the anniversary of this dramatic event and its consequences is represented in a whole section of this year´s SFS.

21.7.2012 – A Film You Can Listen To

How is a film perceived by the blind? All spectators coming to see the Belgian comedy Hasta la Vista! could try it themselves. This story of three physically handicapped friends, who set out to Spain to lose their virginity, was broadcasted with a special audio track, a dubbing with rich description of what is just happening on the screen. “Try to close your eyes and listen,” Pavel Hronek, founder of the Films on the Radio project (on the internet Radio Applaus on Saturday evenings) encouraged the audience, not many of them blind.
As has already become a habit on the Summer Film School, the film was followed by a discussion. Participants included, besides Pavel Hronek and Jana Hošková, screenwriter of the audio track, also her blind consultant, Jiří Machota. “I think that for the group I belong to, this really is a blockbuster,” appreciated Machota the chosen title. Among other things, Pavel Hronek revealed problems he had gaining rights only for the sound of the film: “There is no item the producers could use for this.”
You can see this road movie, this time in its common version, the very last day of the SFS at midnight. This was actually the movie appreciated the most by the Karlovy Vary Festival audience. You will have another chance in all good cinemas from 4th October this year.

20.7.2012 – Program Recapitulation

This year´s Summer Film School, with about three thousands accredited visitors, will be, as usually, divided in several sections. Focus section will concentrate on Hungary this year which means that we will see not only movies by already mentioned authors but also a brief overview of cinematographic dawn of this area (Silent Movie and the 30s), golden age of the 60s and last but not least, we will finally understand things hidden under the tag saying Hungarian humour...

If we move a little (rather a lot) westwards, we will learn what our west-German friends meant when tried to move their film affords forward through Oberhausen manifesto. And those not in mood for short-footage experiments can go and see the most classic classic – a movie by the legendary David Lean who actually defined the term “epic” in his later phase.

Midnight atmosphere in Uherské Hradiště is really something to remember. This year it will include movies belonging to the Blaxploitation section. As usually you will have a chance to enjoy ancient (however still very newly looking in some cases) silent movies accompanied by life music pulsing with up-to-dateness. Harold Llyod, with his legendary Safety Last!, is definitely the front man of this section this year. However, you can also await a colourful version of Méliés´ A Trip to the Moon (1902) (colourful since its origin!).

We are not finishing yet, not at all! F like Reality section will enable us to manipulate with reality and our own (sub)consciousness; ACFS presents... well, they show films you have already been able to see at the cinemas. Nevertheless, you might have been lazy for that... (e.g. a digitalized copy of Trainspotting (1995), just try to say “no” to this!) and of course movies coming to cinemas: Hasta la vista! (2011), Dva nula (2-0) (2012), The Suicide Shop (2013) and Láska v hrobě (Love in the Grave) (2011). Visegrad News present a mixed selection of Czech as well as “close borders” bombs, Agnieszka Holland will have her retrospective and those willing to broaden their horizons even deeper, can study The Contemporary Russian Movie in the Spectrum section.

What can we add? Maybe just that there are more things to stick in life that those twenty-four shots per second. Because there is also a rich accompanying program waiting for the SFS visitors, with the Lemonade Joe Or Go Westwards, Young Man! exhibition in the lead. You can also go and see a confrontation exhibition of Czechoslovakian and Polish film posters, dance at our Music Stage (with Iva Bittová, Midi Lidi, Orff Brothers, Načeva, Traband, Floex, the DVA band, Václav Havel III, Lenka Dusilová). As you can see, really no, but no boredom at the SFS!

Summer Film School (July 21st - 28th 2012)

• is the largest non-competition film event in the Czech Republic where thousands of people arrive to watch films, meet guests, friends and enjoy its unique atmosphere every year

• is an annual presentation of retrospectives of noted filmmakers and guests and thematic cycles which introduce a cinematography of particular nations

• offers a concentrated opportunity to get educated in film and by film. Its programme consists of cycles of lectures, master classes of noted film figures, seminars and panel discussions.

 

Feedback from guests of last year’s SFS

Aki Kaurismäki"I am not able to leave the festival. Please let me stay here till Summer Film School 2013."
(Aki Kaurismäki)





Ken Loach“I would like to thank for an incredibly warm welcome at your festival. I spent beautiful moments there and I really appreciate all the work you do for the festival as well as for us, guests. The amount of screenings and visitors so keen to watch films and learn more about the topics presented here, it all makes your festival absolutely unique.”
(Ken Loach)

F.T. Fridriksson“I was in the best sense shocked by all the interest in my early films and sophisticated discussions after screenings. I will talk about Summer Film School with my friends – film directors and recommend your festival as a place worth visiting.”
(Fridrik Thór Fridriksson)



Béla Tarr“I don’t like to do useless things but visiting your festival was a meaningful thing to do. Thank you for an exceptionally good discussion with audience, for the award I received here and also for the high quality monograph you published. I am returning to Hungary with several copies which I am going to give away to my closest co-workers.”
(Béla Tarr)

This year's SFS will take place from July 21 till July 28, 2012.


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