Czech film festival returns

THE CZECH Film Festival returns after last year's successful debut with five specially-selected films by the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Malaysia. The films will be screened at selected Golden Screen Cinemas (GSC) from March 22 to 25.

The films – Barefoot, Adela Has Not Had Supper Yet, The Seven Ravens, Kooky, and Angel of the Lord 2 – all bear elements of this year's theme, Fairy Tale Stories from Fairy Tale Country.

However, Barefoot, borders more on a historical drama comedy as told from the perspective of a child protagonist.

The 2017 film is produced by the father-and-son team of Zdenek and Jan Sverak, whose 1996 film Kolya won the best foreign-language Academy Award.

Barefoot is directed, written and produced by Jan, based on his father's autobiographical novel. The film was included in this year's festival in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the now-dissolved country of Czechoslovakia.

Members of the press and invited guests were given a preview of this movie at a press conference to announce the return of the Czech Film Festival.

Present at the event were Czech Republic ambassador to Malaysia Rudolf Hykl, GSC manager for Film Festivals and International Screens Tan Gaik Lian, and Patricia Sargunan from Knowmad Productions.

Hyki in his speech said of this year's festival: "We had about 75% attendance throughout the film festival [last year] and it was something I really didn't expect. So, we wanted to keep the momentum [going] for this year."

The Czech Republic is renowned for its artistic animated and sci-fi cinematography as well as its fairytale themes.

Hyki added: "When we look at this role which these movies play in our lives, in our culture, this is something quite distinguishable, quite strong, and quite typical of the Czech Republic.

"It has to do with the long tradition going back to the Middle Ages, and the oral transmission of fairy tales … then in the 19th century, it became part of the literature [and] part of the national revival of Czech ethnicity or Czech language."

Speaking about Barefoot, Hyki pointed out that the movie is about the life of a young boy during the second half of World War II where viewers will get to see the intricate history of his country at the time.

"You have the realistic settings. You have the real stories, and it draws you in. Hopefully, it will leave you thinking after you leave [the cinema]," he added.

As for the other films in this year's selection, The Seven Ravens is based on the classic fairytale by Czech writer Bozena Nemcova about a mother who loses her temper, causing her to utter words she would soon regret.

The 2017 remastered Adela Has Not Had Supper Yet is set to make audiences laugh with its parody on bad detective work in the pursuit of a mysterious criminal nicknamed the Gardener.

The last two films are geared more for families. Kooky tells the tale of a stuffed toy which was thrown out and which made its way back to its owner, while Angel of the Lord 2 revolves around an angel-devil duo on a quest for a lost apple from the Tree of Knowledge in the human world.

These films will be screened at GSC Pavilion and GSC Mid Valley, and free tickets to the screenings will be available from this Thursday.

For more, visit the website of the Czech Republic Embassy in Kuala Lumpur or GSC.