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Czech That Film: A Festival of current Czech Cinema

From provocative premieres to award-winning masterpieces, Czech That Film festival features the best of contemporary Czech cinema touring 11 American cities over four months. The festival started March 27, 2014 in Los Angeles and we can enjoy it in Chicago from July 6 to 30, 2014 at Gene Siskel Film Center. Friends of the Czech Consulate will receive special $ 7 discount tickets to any of the Czech films if they purchase tickets in person at the Film Center box office and mention promo code "CONSUL".

Barbara Scharres: From July 6 through 30, the Gene Siskel Film Center presents “Czech That Film” in cooperation with the Consulate General of the Czech Republic in Chicago. Provocative premieres and prizewinners make up this series of six recent films.

Prolific director Jan Hrebejk challenges assumptions with dramas centering on family secrets, some with political impact, in HONEYMOON and KAWASAKI’S ROSE. The survival of relationships is the focus of Holocaust drama COLETTE, and of contemporary-era LOUSY BASTARDS. Life echoes art in a tale of two opera directors in THE DON JUANS. An artist attempts to outrun death in a complicated relationship with two women in major prizewinner LIKE NEVER BEFORE.

On July 6 and 9, in related programming, we screen a newly struck 35mm print of the great Czech classic MARKETA LAZAROVA by Frantisek Vlacil. The most honored Czech film of all time, this eerie, poetic epic set in the Middle Ages is a must-see experience.



1967, Frantisek Vlacil, Czechoslovakia, 163 min.

With Josef Kemr, Magda Vásáryová


Sun, Jul 6th at 2:30pm

Wed, Jul 9th at 6:30pm

In Czech with English subtitles.

New 35mm print from the Czech National Archive’s recent 4K restoration.

Voted the best Czech film of all time in a poll of 100 Czech critics, this ravishing 13th-century epic based on a novel by Vladislav Vancuras evokes an era when pagan and Christian clans face off in a fierce struggle for dominance. Opening against an unforgiving winter landscape, Vlacil’s poetic yet ominous vision of nature dominated by hawks and wolves sets the scene for an authentically violent tale of rapacious rivalries played out in kidnapping, murder, plunder, and rape, all rendered through unsettling symbolism and through a stark, eerie beauty. Enhanced by an avant-garde vocal, choral, and percussive soundtrack score by Zdenek Liska

See video



Chicago premiere!

2014, Roman Kasparovsky, Czech Republic, 100 min.

With Radek Bruna, Krystof Hadek


Sun, Jul 13th at 3:00pm

Mon, Jul 14th at 6:00pm

In Czech with English subtitles.

A youthful fight over a girl sends two brothers on separate paths in life in this tragicomedy with one foot in the crime world. Urbane Miki becomes a successful but alcoholic neurosurgeon with a trail of broken hearts in his wake, while Afghan-war veteran Richard lives an isolated small town life with two daughters. As they revisit their long-dormant grudge match, can two wrongs make a right? Is there still time to make a whole of two halves?



Chicago premiere!

2013, Milan Cieslar, Czech Republic, 126 min.

With Jiri Madl, Clemence Thioly


Sun, Jul 13th at 5:00pm

Wed, Jul 16th at 7:45pm

In English.

Based on the novel “A Girl from Antwerp” by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Arnost Lustig, COLETTE draws on the author’s own experiences as a prisoner of a Nazi death camp. Director Cieslar imbues this emotional story with the tension of a thriller, sparing none of the horror. A camp commander forces young Colette into sex slavery, yet she finds sustaining love with fellow inmate Vili. The two resolve to survive at any cost, but the possibility of escape is a different and more dangerous question.

See video



Chicago premiere!

2013, Jiri Menzel, Czech Republic, 102 min.

With Jan Hartl, Libuse Safrankova


Sun, Jul 20th at 3:00pm

Wed, Jul 23rd at 6:00pm

In Czech with English subtitles.

ursting with energy from the get-go,
pirouetting through a blizzard
of inventive gags…a buoyant high.”
–Ronnie Scheib, Variety

The world of opera comes in for some pointed but affectionate satire along with lushly libidinous imagery, in the able hands of Czech master Menzel (I SERVED THE KING OF ENGLAND, CLOSELY WATCHED TRAINS). Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” provides the connecting thread between the intersecting stories of two aging opera directors: obsessive womanizer Vitek, something of a Don Juan in his own right; and Marketka, one of a long line of women seduced and abandoned by a bass tenor starring in Mozart’s masterpiece.



Chicago premiere!

2013, Zdenek Tyc, Czech Republic, 100 min.

With Jiri Schmitzer, Petra Spalkova


Sun, Jul 20th at 5:00pm

Mon, Jul 21st at 6:00pm

In Czech with English subtitles.

Nominated for seven 2014 Czech Lion awards and winner of four, including Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Supporting Actress, LIKE NEVER BEFORE is an engaging drama of a feisty artist’s struggle against death. Determined to outrun his dire diagnosis, a wild-man painter repairs to the countryside in the company of two women: his young protégé and an ex-lover, now a nurse. Rivalry, jealousy, and petty quarrels are overshadowed by the growing fear of the inevitability that lurks on the edges of the summer.

See video



 2013, Jan Hrebejk, Czech Republic, 97 min.

With Ana Geislerova, Stanislav Majer


Sun, Jul 27th at 3:00pm

Wed, Jul 30th at 6:00pm

In Czech with English subtitles.

 “Weaves some welcoming darkness
into the frothy and cheerful
façade…beautiful and memorable.”
–Mark Adams, Screen Daily

The presence of an uninvited guest at a lavish fairytale wedding is the catalyst for the bride’s second look at the man she married. Completing his trilogy on guilt (including INNOCENCE and KAWASAKI’S ROSE), director Hrebejk draws secrets from dark places when a blended family’s quirks go on display. The spirit of wild celebration and conspicuous consumption is leavened by foreboding when a shadow from the past falls on the groom.



2009, Jan Hrebejk, Czech Republic, 100 min.

With Lenka Vlasáková, Martin Huba


Sun, Jul 27th at 5:00pm

Mon, Jul 28th at 6:00pm

In Czech with English subtitles.

 “The acting is flawless, the cinematography sublime.”
–Angus Wolfe Murray, Eye for Film

A failing marriage and a son-in-law’s resentment set the stage for the downfall of a national hero. Director Hrebejk deftly juggles intersecting storylines of infidelity and betrayal with a characteristic infusion of wry humor, as a distinguished doctor on the eve of being honored with a national award is revealed to be other than he seems. The family threatens to collapse like a house of cards, but disaster turns out to have a warmly human face in this drama that plumbs the depths of guilt and comes out the other side.

See video

Czech That Film in Chicago

The third Czech That Film is already a big success!