Program Cycles Overview
The SFS was from the beginning perceived as an unconventional festival type, whose spine is not created by the competitive sections and red carpets, as is the praxis on other festivals. Various tendencies, program gravitation and ambitions leaded to the clear emphasis on the particular themes, which had dominated individual years. Since the 2008 the SFS’s evolution keeps aiming to the clearer program division xxx
Program concept of the SFS counts with six sections that repeat each year:
Focus section – a deeper insight into the development and tendencies of a particular national cinematography (particular cycles present personalities, topics and tendencies typical for this cinematography)
Spectrum section – presents current tendencies or topics in the world cinematography which change character of contemporary film and point out serious facts of today society
Inventory – this particularity of the SFS presents archive and classic films in form of retrospectives or chapters from film history; motto of this section is: “From archives back to silver screens!”
Visegrads Horizon – cinematographic intersection of countries belonging to the former Visegrad Four highlights legends and talents of national cinematographies and common topics, we do not forget to evaluate past seasons of all the four countries either
AČFK presents – AČFK (Association of Czech Film Clubs), being the organizer of the SFS, has its unsubstitutable place on the Czech distribution market and the SFS is an exceptional space for repeats, premiers and previews of films presented in Czech distributions (in attendance of guests)
Special appearance section – this section gives room for special types of projections outside the format of other cycles
FOCUS SECTION: Romania
Regular program section called Focus will introduce history, present and also the most outstanding personalities of the chosen national cinematography. This year, after Austria in 2009 and Iceland in 2010, the audience of the SFS will have the opportunity to see – in a complex retrospective of 30 films - valued Romanian cinematography.
Program Focus section: Romania will present history of Romanian cinematography starting with epics from the silent era, continuing with masters of Romanian critical film of the 1970s and 1980s by Dan Pita, Mircea Daneliuc and Lucian Pintilie, and ending with bright successes of Romanian film in the new century represented by works of directors of the so-called Romanian New Wave (Cristian Mungiu, Cristi Puiu, Corneliu Porumboiu). Thematic subsection will be dedicated to personality cult of the dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and subsequent bloody Romanian revolutions; retrospective of radical documentarist Andrej Ujica will form an important part of the subsection.
September 11th and a Terrorist Threat
The 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks in the USA will form the basis of the thematic section focusing on film reflexion of Islamic terrorism and foreign policy of the western world in the last decade. In the selection, there will be not only feature films and documentary films relating to the events of 11th September 2001 but also works analyzing conflict of two dominant world religious systems and ideological concepts of both sides of the conflict in relation to representatives of power as well as common heroes. Rich special attendant program consisting of discussions, lectures and presentations will be also an integral part of the September 11th and a Terrorist Threat section.
Retrospective: Aki Kaurismäki
Finnish and Scandinavian film legend Aki Kaurismäki is an author whose films gain exceptional acceptance in the Czech Republic. This master of minimalist tragicomic stories full of melancholy, black coffee, moved destiny and rock´n´roll is coming to the SFS to present complete retrospective of his films, including his new film Le Havre. The retrospective will cover all Kaurismäki´s work from his debut Crime and Punishment, over “Working Class Trilogy” (Shadows in Paradise, Ariel, The Match Factory Girl) and series with “Leningrad” comedies up to films with meta-genre techniques (I Hired a Contract Killer, Juha, The Man Without a Past).
Honour: Emir Kusturica
Emir Kusturica, a Bosnian film prince, director and the owner of village Drvengrad, where he organizes his own festival, is known to Czech audience thanks to his bitter Balkan tragicomedies and parables (Time of the Gipsies, Arizona Dream, Underground, Black Cat, White Cat). Together with his colleagues from former Yugoslavia (Zafranovič, Paskaljevič), Kusturica studied at Prague´s FAMU in professor Vávra´s class, at the beginning of the 1980s debuted with the Do You Remember Dolly Bell film with Forman´s- and Passer´s like tinge. With movies When Father Was Away on Business and Underground he won the Golden Palm at the Cannes festival. Since the end of the 1980s he has been featuring also as a guitar player in the No Smoking Orchestra, which composed music to the popular burlesque Black Cat, White Cat and will present itself at the Summer Film School.
Film reader: Tradition of quality (French film after the Second World War)
Tradition of quality, that was a name for tendencies in French cinematography after the WWII, which shook with economy as well as film industry in most European countries including France. This section is going to present exceptional or forgotten chapters of the world cinematography history through movies from the 1950s, where the two most outstanding ones are Forbidden Games by René Clément or If all the Guys in the World by Christian-Jaque. The term “tradition of quality” stands for works of particular, prominent French post-war directors who were interested in – inspired by pre-war tendencies – making “prestigious” cinematography inspired by Hollywood studio romanticism as well as French poetic realism.
Billy Wilder, an owner of six Oscars for direction and screenplay, was much more than just a master of comedy. Thanks to his unbelievable scope which includes for example also war dramas, romantic comedies, film noir, thrillers or psychological dramas, he becomes an incomparable master of genre film – and not only that. Whichever genre Wilder chose, he was able to give it a consistent philosophy of life and depth which go far over common ideas about the genre. This retrospective at the SFS covers his works from the silent beginnings, over his screenplay acts up to his legendary titles and some less known ones too.
Film and live music
The Film and live music section will present a collection of (mainly) silent movies which are accompanied by newly composed live music of prominent Czech as well as foreign artists. Besides music accompaniments prepared for particular titles, also new renderings of often non-traditional approaches of live music performances to silent movies will be presented. In 2011 the section will present a part of retrospective of director Gustav Machatý and film collection of German author Ernest Lubitsch.
Midnight titbits (Japanese pinku eiga films)
Visitors of the SFS 2011 will be seated in sticky seats of a tawdry cinema in Tokyo quarter Roppongi, watching a collection of ten classical works of the Japanese soft-erotic film genre, the so-called “pinku-eiga” (“pink film”). The selection consists of elementary works of this genre made during five decades, from the 1960s until today. The audience can look forward to films by masters of erotic subversion – Koji Wakamatsu and Noboru Tanaka. We have chosen gems of the genre such as Legend about the Big Penis, Secretary or Tokyo X Erotica.
Cinematography of inter-war Czechoslovakia is still identified abroad mainly with the name of director Gustav Machatý and his legendary title Ecstasy that had its ceremonial opening night in Prague at the beginning of 1933. Machatý´s ambitions to break through professionally in international context and strong belief that film, despite commercial aspects of its existence, should be mainly a work of art, were made good use in achievement of this extraordinary position. This year we celebrate the 110th birth anniversary of the director and presentation of his works included in the SFS program will offer a possibility to watch a gradual transformation of the filmmaker´s authorial style characterized, apart from other things, by exceptional feeling for “visuality” of a cinematographic image.
One of the few Polish filmmakers, who gained real worldwide acceptance, was Krzysztof Kieślowski. Were not for his untimely death fifteen years ago, he would celebrate his 70th birthday this year. His works go beyond the territory of his native Poland and particularly his “French works” drew attention to his unquestionable talent. However, the chosen retrospective, which will be presented at this year´s SFS, will focus on his documentary works and feature films belonging among the so-called films of “moral restlessness”. His television opus The Decalogue will not be omitted either. The audience will thus have a possibility to acquaint themselves with movies which are often missed out in connection to Kieślowski´s works.
Retrospektive: Robert Sedláček
A graduated documentarist Robert Sedláček (1973) comes from Zlin (Czech Republic). In the 1990s he started to study at the Documentary film department of Prague FAMU. After a series of successful documents, describing Czech political scene as well as shadows of the past (The Path to Power, Gustav Husak Centre Stage), he made a surprisingly mature feature debut The Rules of Lies (2006). Sedláček´s bitter comments of bizarreness and boastfulness of Czech nature and social inferiority – Men in the Rut, The Biggest of All Czech – demonstrate his ability to capture infirmity of life with unexpected currentness and excellent performances of the court-actors. This year his filmography will expand with two new titles – Family Is the Foundation of the State and television film Assholes.
The Third Republic Era in Czechoslovakian film (1945-1948)
This section gives the audience a possibility to watch a representative sample of works that were directed in the first three years after nationalization of film industry, in the time of relative freedom, in the time preceding February of 1948. From 1945 to1948 a remarkable number of highly valued films originated in our country. Those films show, on one side, how high-quality the cinematography was those days, but, on the other side the films also offer unique testimonies about problems of post-war Czechoslovakia. Accompanying program of the section (discussions, lectures) will focus on historical reconstruction of the mention period and its reflection in films and production of the Czechoslovakian television.
AČFK (The Association of Czech Film Clubs) is the main organizer of Summer Film School but also the key distributor of classical and art film in the Czech Republic. Since 2010 films of AČFK has formed an independent section in the SFS program. This section presents films broadcasted in the past season as well as new distribution acts. Representatives of film clubs as well as viewers will thus have a possibility to attend preferentially presented preview films which will come into distribution not earlier than in the autumn this year. AČFK focuses mainly on classical and archive films, and contemporary art production with consideration taken to key personalities forms an independent line. Films broadcasted at the SFS this year include, among others, a paradocumentary Exit Through the Gift Shop by prominent street art legend Banksy, or the last film by Hungarian genius Béla Tarr The Turin Horse.