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Czech and Slovak Film Festival 2014

Home > Melbourne > Cinema | Cultural Events | Festivals
by Fiona Anderson (subscribe)
A Melbourne based writer who is a travel junkie, dedicated foodie and emerging photographer.
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Join the Resistance
2014 marks a significant milestone in Czech and Slovak history; it is the 25th anniversary of the so called 'velvet revolution' in the former Czechoslovakia. This involved a non-violent transition of power from what was a one-party government of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia to a parliamentary republic. Strong protests and rallies towards the end of 1989, involving up to an estimated 500,000 people, led to the then entire senior leadership of the Communist Party in Czechoslovakia resigning, paving the way to a new, democratically elected government.

This major historical event is being acknowledged in this year's Czech and Slovak Film Festival, which has been given as a theme 'resistance'. This is Melbourne's second Czech & Film Festival. For the first time, the Festival is also playing in Sydney, from 2nd-7th September.

The Film Festival embraces a wide range of film genres: from feature films to documentaries and animations, some present day hits, as well as 1960s new wave classics.

Here's some of what's coming up in the Festival:

Before Tonight is Over (screens at 8.45pm on Thursday 28th August)

This is a digitally restored film made in 1965. The film centres around one night in the trendy bar of a ski resort in the High Tatras. Two young women using up their paltry savings to enjoy a few rare days of carefree living, two plumbers looking for an erotic adventure, a building contractor drinking away his workers' wages and an alcoholic former major all meet. Over the course of a few hours they gradually reveal their unfulfilled dreams, illusions and the disappointments of average people of those times.

Before tonight is over
A disparate group get together in a bar and start to share their dreams and illusions in Before Tonight is Over

The Confidant (screens at 6.15pm on Thursday 28th August)

This paranoid historical thriller is based on a true story and comes from archive material from the Memory Institute in Bratislava. The prototype of the protagonist was a ham radio buff in the tumultuous late 1960s whose talents came to the attention of the secret police (StB).

Czech & Slovak Film Festival
A scene from the thriller The Confidant

In order to protect his girlfriend Eva (Michaela Majerníková) from StB persecution, but without telling her, Adam Horný (Jiří Mádl) becomes a professional agent whose work is wiretapping people and collecting compromising information on them.

Candidate (closing night movie, screens at 7.00pm on Friday 29th August)

An unprepossessing young man (Michal Kubovčík) from the colossal prefab housing estates in Petržalka in today's Bratislava is headhunted for a surveillance job. Consequently, he winds up wire-tapping and monitoring a variety of behind-the-scenes figures in the two month long lead-up to a presidential election.

Candidate is the closing night film

Although the Festival officially ends in Melbourne on 29th August, there are some screenings that occur after that date. For example, there is a screening of Militant Surrealism taking place at 7.00pm on Wednesday 10th September. This is a program of short films by Czech filmmaker, Jan Švankmajer, whose 80th birthday is next month.

All Melbourne films are screening at ACMI. Tickets are available online, in person at the ACMI box office, or by phoning the box office on (03) 8663 2583. Most films are rated 18 . Please check individual listings for more details.
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Why? Gain some insight into a different culture; join the revolution!
When: Various sessions from 21-29 August 2014. Check the website for session times.
Phone: (03) 8663 2585 (ACMI box office)
Where: ACMI, Federation Square, Melbourne
Cost: Adults: $18, Concession: $15, ACMI members: $14. (Closing night: adults $30.)
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