Film festival takes look at Czech culture, history

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Film festival takes look at Czech culture, history

The Czech Republic is gearing up to end 2006 with a media splash.
The Eastern European country is holding its first film festival in Seoul, entitled, “Real Stories from 50 years of Central European History.” The film festival, which was organized by the Czech Republic and the Korean Association of Cinematheques, will run between Dec. 6 and 13 at the Seoul Art Cinema.
The film festival will show eight movies including “Closely Observed Trains,” “Daisies” and “The Joke,” made between 1965 and 2005.
Among the movies, “Faust” was introduced during the 2004 Jeonju International Film Festival and “Daisies,” was shown at last year’s Seoul Women’s Film Festival.
The rest have never been shown in Korea. All of the films will be provided by the embassy.
One of the movies that will be showcased during the festival is “Loves of a Blond,” directed by Milos Forman. This is the oldest film among the eight. The black and white movie was first released in 1965 and tells the story of a young blond factory workers who falls in love with a young pianist from Prague. The movie is a comedy, but it also reveals the gray, dull life of a young factory worker in the Czech Republic’s suburbia whose fantasy later becomes a disappointment. Despite the 50 years that have passed since the film was made, audiences will find it easy to connect with the characters in the movie as their lives and emotions seem little different from those experienced by young suburbanites today.
One of the film’s best moments is when Mikta, the young pianist, tries to sleep with Andula, the blonde, in his motel room. Because she’s shy Andula asks Mikta to pull down the blinds. He tries several times but the cheap motel blinds folds back up every time he walks back to bed.
Another funny scene is when Mikta, who has been hanging out with other girls in Prague, finds Andula sleeping on the sofa of his parent’s apartment. Mikta wants to sleep with Andula on the sofa but his mother refuses to see her son with some country girl. Unfortunately for Mikta he then has to share a bed with his parents who argue under the sheets all night.
Forman is one of the film directors that represent Czech Republic’s new wave in art. He was also one of the few Eastern European directors to succeed in Hollywood.
Forman’s Hollywood debut was “Taking Off,” released in 1971. The director later won five Academy Awards for his film “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” which was released in 1975. “Loves of a Blond,” has the dry humor that made his Hollywood movies successful.
Later today at the Castle Praha restaurant in Mapo district, Seoul, an exhibition of Slivovice, a traditional Czech plum brandy from the Wallachia region, will be on display. The event, which is called, “Slivovice and its Soul,” is to take place until Dec. 15. The exhibition will also offer a buffet of Czech dishes.


by Lee Ho-jeong
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