New Czech Cinema

  • May 12, 2017 — May 14, 2017

Czech filmmakers have long been recognized for their innovative contributions to international cinema. The legacy of the Czech New Wave, the period of stylistic experimentation and social critique that accompanied political and social reforms in mid-1960s Czechoslovakia and included such acclaimed directors as Miloš Forman, Ivan Passer, Jiří Menzel, and Jan Nemec, still resonates in a new generation of voices offering skilled takes on diverse genres from comedy to gritty realist drama, from stylish period thrillers to animation, and more. They share, however, a deft eye for lyric beauty and absurdist humor even in the most mundane or difficult circumstances as they probe social and economic conditions and questions of Czech identity and culture.

We are pleased to open the series with the new film by celebrated director Jan Hrebejk, who will be on hand to talk about his work. Hrebejk, know for mixing humor, irony and humanity in equal measure, brings his satirical skills to bear on a meditation about making moral choices—a film that impressively adds to a body of work that includes Divided We Fall (2000), Up and Down (2004), Beauty in Trouble (2006), and Kawasaki’s Rose (2009), Honeymoon (2013) and The Icing (2014), all of which screened in past years in the Portland International Film Festival.

The Northwest Film Center presents this five-film selection of influential and emerging voices in Czech cinema in conjunction with the nationally touring program Czech That Film, organized by the Czech Center, New York; Embassy of the Czech Republic, Washington, D.C.; Consulate General of the Czech Republic, Los Angeles; Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences; Honorary Consul of the Czech Republic, Portland; and the Czech Society of Oregon. Special thanks to Pavol Šepelák, Consul General of the Czech Republic in Los Angeles, for making these films’ presentation in Portland possible.

       

Friday, May 12

The Teacher

Directed by Jan Hrebejk

In this intelligent and funny meditation on totalitarianism, the arrival of a new teacher at a Bratislava school in 1983

Saturday, May 13

Tiger Theory

Directed by Radek Bajgar

Bajgar’s tragicomic road movie follows Jan (Jiří Bartoška), an ageing veterinary surgeon who believes himself a henpecked shadow of his

Saturday, May 13

The Noonday Witch

Directed by Jiří Sádek

A modern version of Karel Jaromír Erben’s 19th century poem follows the young widow Eliska (Anna Geislerová) who moves into

Sunday, May 14

Little from the Fish Shop

Directed by Jan Balej

Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid, the fairy-tale story of a love capable of forgiving even the greatest betrayal, takes

Sunday, May 14

I, Olga Hepnarová

Directed by Petr Kazda

Olga Hepnarova–lesbian, loner, mass murderer–was the last woman executed in the former Czechoslovakia. In 1973, at the age of 22,