This black-and-white portrait of a young man reflects the generation of the ’60s in Central Europe, but from a broad perspective that makes it still relevant today — especially because of its authentic, often-satirical depiction of the young Peter’s trials and tribulations: his clash with authorities, the generational conflict, his first love. In recent years, history and the issues of the past seem to be attractive subjects for Czech filmmakers, who are now bringing controversial topics to the screen that often present an unflattering image of the Czech nation, portraying figures glorious and shameful alike in a way Czech cinema hasn’t seen in a long time. In this issue, we present portraits of two historical personalities who lived at approximately the same time, but occupy opposite ends of the political spectrum. Milada Horáková, portrayed by David Mrnka, was one of the most remarkable figures ever to engage in the Czech public sphere. A strong woman and uncompromising politician, she sacrificed her life for her principles, and was executed by the Communist regime on trumped-up charges following a show trial in 1950. On the other side of the spectrum stands Zdeněk Toman, a ruthless Communist Party official who as head of the Foreign Intelligence Service shaped political developments after World War II and helped the Communists seize power, which among other things resulted in the trial and execution of Horáková and many others.
Little Crusader wins Grand Prix at Karlovy Vary This year, for the first time in 15 years, a Czech film won the main competition at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. The five-member main jury awarded the Grand Prix to Little Crusader, Václav Kadrnka’s meditative drama on fatherhood, starring Karel Roden. The film’s director and producer received a Crystal Globe trophy and 25,000 dollars. Slovak filmmaker Peter Bebjak took the award as Best Director for his film The Line, the Special Jury Prize went to Men Don’t Cry, Bosnian director Alen Drljević’s drama about the war in Yugoslavia, and Czech director Václav Vorlíček won the Festival President’s Award for Contribution to Czech Cinematography. Censor, directed and produced by Peter Kerekes and written by Ivan Ostrochovský and Peter Kerekes, was named winner of the Works in Progress Award.
Three Czech projects tagged for support by Eurimages The Council of Europe’s Eurimages Fund chose 27 projects to support at its June meeting, including three Czech films: Is This What You Were Born For? (Romania/Czech Republic/France/ Bulgaria), directed by Radu Jude, coproduced by Jiří Konečný/ endorfilm; The Magic Quill (Czech Republic/Slovakia), directed by Marek Najbrt, produced by Ondřej Beránek and Martin Hůlovec/ Punk Film; and Cook, Fuck, Kill (Czech Republic/Slovakia), directed by Mira Fornay, produced by Viktor Schwarcz/Cineart TV Prague.
© Punk Film
this fall, one of the most famous Czech films of all time returns to cinemas. The restored version of Black Peter, by Miloš Forman, probably also the most famous Czech director, will celebrate its premiere in Venice Classics.
Enjoy the following pages, wherever you are!
The Magic Quill
Czech Film Center's official magazine presenting Czech films and filmmakers.