Febiofest pays tribute to Jiří Menzel

15. 9. 2020, 17:06
Febiofest 2020

One of the legends of Czech cinema, the Oscar-winning director Jiří Menzel, left us in September. The Prague IFF – Febiofest has decided to honour this eminent filmmaker and will screen three of his films as part of its accompanying programme: Larks on a String, which will be introduced by his widow Olga Menzelová; Capricious Summer, to be preceded by a Q&A with journalist Jan Foll; and the Academy Award-winning Closely Watched Trains.

The motifs of short stories from the Bohumil Hrabal collection An Advertisement for the House I Don't Want to Live in Anymore provided the inspiration for Menzel’s second feature based on the writer’s works. Skylarks on the String is set at a steelworks in Kladno where the Communists deployed the politically inconvenient as “auxiliary” workers. For that reason the film ended up the regime’s vaults. It only received its premiere after the Velvet Revolution, winning the Golden Bear at the Berlin IFF in 1990.

Screening 22. 9 at 20:00, Savarin Garden, introduced by Olga Menzelová

Jiří Menzel’s literary adaptations also took in the writer Vladislav Vančura. His version of Capricious Summer, a humorous novella set at a riverside spa, ranks among his greatest works as director and stands out in the context of the Czechoslovak New Wave thanks to its escapist, nostalgic mood. The stylish, precise narrative earned a Crystal Globe at the Karlovy Vary IFF in 1968 and remains an exceptional example of how to adapt a challenging text.

Screening 23. 9 at 17:00, Savarin Garden, screening accompanied by Q&A starting at 16:00

Jiří Menzel’s feature debut Closely Watched Trains is regarded as a pinnacle of the Czechoslovak New Wave. It ranks among the most acclaimed films of the 1960s and won an Oscar for Best Foreign Film in 1968. Thanks to this success, Menzel became the regular director of Bohumil Hrabal, though this adaptation of the story of a shy young railroad worker started a fashion for highlighting the gentler, more humorous side of the writer’s prose.

Screening 25. 9 at 17:00, Savarin Garden

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