On April 11-12, the Czech That Film (CTF) festival hits Washington packed with a program to wet any film-goers appetite: Oscar-winning director Jan Svěrák in person, three stellar films showcasing the best in Czech cinema: "Ice Mother," "Quartette," and "Barefoot," and a reception featuring delicious Czech cuisine at the Avalon Theatre.
The Embassy of the Czech Republic has partnered with the Avalon Theatre to bring the festival to the Washington community. The festival launches on April 11 with the comedy Ice Mother (Bába z ledu), which garnered a Best Screenplay Award at the recent Tribeca Film Festival and received 6 Czech Lion awards, the country’s top honors in such categories as best film, screenplay, and director. On the following day, April 12, the Avalon Theater will screen the witty ensemble film The Quartette (Kvarteto), followed by the WWII drama Barefoot (Po strništi bos) with Academy Award-winning director Jan Svěrák. A Q&A with the director will conclude the festival.
Jan Svěrák is one of the most highly acclaimed Czech film directors today. He became internationally lauded for his film Kolya, which received the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1996. He previously received an Oscar nomination for his film Elementary School (Obecná škola, 1991). Three times, he won the Czech Lion Award for Best Direction, the Czech Republic’s highest honor for a director. Often, he works with his father, renowned screenwriter Zdeněk Svěrák, who also played a number of roles in his films. His latest film Barefoot (Po strništi bos, 2017) is based on stories from his father’s childhood.
Now in its seventh year, the Czech That Film festival highlights top new Czech films, bringing directors and actors to the US scene for lively discussions. “The Czech That Film festival allows audiences to savor some of the Czech Republic’s most recent contemporary films and meet such legends in filmmaking as Jan Svěrák – perhaps the most prominent Czech director of his generation,” said Hynek Kmoníček, Ambassador of the Czech Republic to the United States.
A special component of the festival is a reception in the Avalon’s historic main theatre, serving Czech cuisine provided by the local Czech restaurant Bistro Bohem. The menu will include Szegedin Goulash (pork stewed with sauerkraut and served with bread), apple strudel, and a glass of wine, Czech beer, or soft drink. Attendees can either book the double feature or evening screening with reception to enjoy the culinary delights on April 12.
For tickets, please visit www.theavalon.org/czechthatfilm | All films will screen with English subtitles.
Location: Avalon Theater, 5612 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20015
The Czech That Film Festival brings the best of Czech filmmaking to 19 major cities in North America. For more information, please visit www.czechthatfilm.com.
Opening Night! - Wednesday, April 11, 8 pm
ICE MOTHER | BÁBA Z LEDU
Directed by Bohdan Sláma, 2017, 106 min.
“A December romance changes a widow’s life as well as the relationships she has with her selfish sons.” ~ Alissa Simon, Variety film critic
It is long overdue for Hannah to jump into the water and see where the current leads. For years, she has catered to her two grown sons — one an underpaid servant, the other a wealthy businessman with a self-centered wife and a troubled son. Every weekend, Hannah brings the family together, using her best dishes to create some semblance of order. One day, after picking up her grandson at school, she stops alongside the river to watch some ice swimmers. When a man named Brona waves in distress, she rushes into the water to help. Brona offers Hannah a breath of fresh air and a taste of romance. He encourages her to try ice swimming. Her dip into the icy water just might change her life forever.
Ice Mother received the award for Best Screenplay in an International Narrative at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival.
The film received 15 Czech Lion nominations and won 6 (best film, director, screenplay, lead actress, lead actor, and supporting actress)!
Thursday, April 12, 5:15 pm
THE QUARTETTE | KVARTETO
Directed by Miroslav Krobot, 2017, 93 min.
“It’s a universal story of the search for happiness played with rueful melancholy, brilliant understatement, and a wise and humorous attitude towards sex.” ~2018 Palm Springs International Film Festival
Gathering around one table every evening like a family, the members of a string quartet rehearse for another concert. The somewhat incongruous foursome consists of the attractive cello player Simona, her “mommy dependent” boyfriend Robert, the show off — Tomáš, and an aging history expert nicknamed Funés. An awkward misunderstanding and sexual tensions put the fate of the quartet at risk. Will they be able to continue as a group or will they go their separate ways?
The film received 8 Czech Lion nominations.
Thursday, April 12, 8 pm
BAREFOOT | PO STRNIŠTI BOS
Directed by Jan Svěrák, 2017, 111 min.
Q&A with director Jan Svěrák follows the screening.
“Barefoot (is a) beautiful piece of nostalgia shot entirely from a little boy’s perspective…” ~Deborah Young, Hollywood Reporter film critic
Set in Czechoslovakia during the Nazi occupation, a young boy named Eda opens up a world of trouble when he inadvertently reveals that his father has been listening to resistance broadcasts from London. As a result, the Nazi requisition their apartment, and they are forced into exile in the countryside. Shot from the perspective of the 8-year-old boy, Eda finds his own adventures and discovers a new crop of friends during the extraordinary times. Along the way, Eda’s innocent perspective of the world contrasts with the shadow of World War II weighing heavily upon the country.
Director Jan Svěrák received the 2018 Czech Lion Film Fan Award for this film.
The film received 13 Czech Lion nominations and won 3 (best cinematography, sound, and supporting actor).