Film Festival Frenzy
written by Molly Emmett (Whitman College)
I’ve always been interested in film festivals, but it seems that in the States I’d have to get tickets way ahead of time, or they’re really expensive or the festival is too far away for me to justify going. However, the stars aligned this month, and I’ve attended four films from two different film festivals in the past week–plus, there’s another festival (Febiofest) hitting the city at the end of March.
The first film I saw was part of Shockproof Film Fest, a kitschy horror film festival running at an awesome independent cinema called Aero in Žižkov, a hip Prague neighborhood (so I’ve been told–I’ll have to check it out some more). I’m surprised at myself for agreeing to attend a festival whose trailer actually made me feel nauseous because of the (campy) gore, but I was invited by my Tandem Partner (I help him practice English, he helps me practice Czech) and I figured, “when in Prague…” Anyway, it turned out really well. We saw a goofy 80s low-budget “horror” called Killer Klowns from Outer Space and it was just as ridiculous as you’d imagine. Quick synopsis: Alien-circus-tent/spaceship lands in small-town America and releases bloodthirsty “klowns” (aliens w/ clown-like appearance) who kill people by shooting them with popcorn guns or laser guns which trap them in pink cotton-candy. Teen love triangle (boy, girl + cop ex-boyfriend) saves the day by defeating the monstrous klown leader and exploding the ship as it takes off, but not before half the town has been turned into bloody cotton candy blobs. INSTANT CLASSIC. Highly recommended. Read more here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0095444/
The other three films were part of a much more serious festival, called OneWorld (or Jeden Svět). One World is an international human rights documentary film festival which took place in multiple venues in Prague over the last week and a half and will travel to Brno next (as will Shockproof). One cool thing about the festival is that several of my professors incorporated attendance into their syllabi, so I got to attend all three films for free (tickets were inexpensive, but still). Another plus is that I got to visit two lovely cinemas (kina, kino singular)–Atlas, a more modern venue with a bar/cafe upstairs and two theaters below; and Lucerna, a historical location with a large bar/cafe in front and two theaters upstairs (plus the name is shared with the neighboring club). I don’t have pictures, but take my word, they’re fancy. And the films themselves were great. On Saturday night I saw Ukriane is Not a Brothel, a film about the Ukrainian group FEMEN made by Australian-Ukrainian director Kitty Green. On Monday evening I watched Czech director Radim Špaček’s Incoming!, which chronicled daily life of the members of the Czech Provincial Reconstruction team working in Logar, Afghanistan for five years. Finally, on Tuesday evening I saw Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer about three members of the Russian activist group Pussy Riot who were tried and sentenced to two years in jail for their feminist punk demonstrations in a candidly corrupt judicial system. The British film was made by directors Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin, and Lerner answered questions after the viewing (as did Radim Špaček after his film).
I would recommend all three documentaries, but especially the last. For more info, check out the website: http://www.oneworld.cz/2014/ (I think this is the English version).