Documentary Mondays and Fiction Tuesdays are back at the Czech Centre


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The Czech Centre in Bucharest is known for opening its doors every spring and autumn for film screenings on Monday and Tuesday evenings. So, from 13 May to 4 June, the already popular Documentary Mondays and Fiction Tuesdays programmes are back, each with 4 films carefully chosen. Admission is free, and the traditional Czech beer will be offered to the public.

Photo credit: Andrei Turenici

Documentary Mondays will bring 4 documentaries this time, very different in subject matter and aesthetics, while their filmmakers will participate in online Q&A sessions. The programme starts on 13 May at 20:00 with an investigative documentary, partly made with a hidden camera. Limits of Europe (Apolena Rychlíková, 2024, 98′) follows the journey of Czech journalist Saša Uhlová as she enters the world of unqualified workers from Central and Eastern European countries who go abroad to be exploited for minimal wages, but still higher than what they get at home. Uhlová becomes one of the economic migrants crucial to Western Europe’s prosperity, working on a fruit and vegetable farm in Germany, in an Irish hotel and as a caretaker for the elderly in Marseille.

The programme continues on 20 May with a documentary-opera, a visual and sound performance – Kapr Code (Lucie Králová, 2022, 91′). Although the name of Czech composer Jan Kapr is not so well known, the footage he shot during his life proved to be valuable material in the creation of this documentary. The film uses Kapr’s musical scores as well as personal archive footage and, with the help of a Dadaist libretto, reveals his life and work against the backdrop of historical changes. The behind-the-scenes scenes of the choir’s recording deconstructs the biographical genre and shows us how difficult it can be to interpret archival material, memories and linear narratives.

This year, Jan Švankmajer turns 90, so the Czech Centre has decided to celebrate his anniversary by showing a documentary about him as well as a fiction film made by him during each season of Documentary Mondays and Fiction Tuesdays. So on 27 May, you can watch Athanor: The Alchemical Furnace (Jan Danhel, Adam Olha, 2020, 117′), a playful portrait that captures Švankmajer in various moments and situations, as well as his views on food, fetishes and the end of humanity and Western civilisation. His creative method is partly presented by the two filmmakers, who spent three years with the famous filmmaker and artist.

Documentary Mondays ends on 3 June with Anhell69 (Theo Montoya, 2022, 72′). A funeral car cruises the streets of Medellín, while a young director tells the story of his past in this violent and conservative city. He remembers the pre- production of his first film, a B-movie with ghosts. The young queer scene of Medellín is casted for the film, but the main protagonist dies of a heroin overdose at the age of 21, just like many friends of the director. Anhell69 explores the dreams, doubts and fears of an annihilated generation, and the struggle to carry on making cinema.

Credit photo: Andrei Turenici

Tuesday evenings will also be spent at the Czech Centre, as Fiction Tuesdays will run concurrently with Documentary Mondays. But the programme’s debut will take place at Sala Cinema of the National University of Theatre and Film “I.L. Caragiale” on 14 May at 20:00. That’s when you’ll see Markéta Lazarová (František Vláčil, 1967, 160′), considered the most important title in Czech cinema history, an essential film for all cinema lovers. More details about the film can be found in the Facebook event.

The Švankmajer celebration will also take place on 21 May at the Czech Centre, where Fiction Tuesdays screenings will continue. Then audience will watch Alice (Jan Švankmajer, 1988, 86′), a tribute to Carroll’s immense imagination, but at the same time a pretense to develop their own. The film is a reminiscence of the author’s childhood, as well as an attempt to evoke the audience’s childhood experience.

On 28 May you can look forward to the “musical of the totalitarian era”, as The Smoke (Tomás Vorel, 1990, 94′) is called. It introduces the viewer to an industrial yet organic atmosphere, full of sarcasm and irony. An idealistic young civil engineer takes up his first job with hope and enthusiasm. However, the reality of work in the late socialist period, ironically depicted in the film, quickly disappoints him and destroys his idealism.

Fiction Tuesdays will also end on 4 June on a fever dream note. Krakatit (Otakar Vávra, 1947, 97′), an adaptation of Karel Čapek’s novel of the same name, introduces us to engineer Prokop, terrified of his own invention – an explosive that comes with unimaginably devastating consequences, but which many others see as a much sought-after tool for achieving absolute power.

Access to screenings is free and the films are subtitled in English. The screenings take place at the Czech Centre Bucharest (Ion Ghica street, no. 11), except for the one on 14 May. Doors open at 19:45, no reservation needed, and films start at 20:00. To keep up to date with news about them, you can follow the Czech Centre’s Facebook and Instagram pages, as well as their website.

The two programmes are organised by the Czech Centre Bucharest, and Fiction Tuesdays is organised in collaboration with UNATC I.L Caragiale.

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