Days of European Film brings films that celebrate female characters to Prague cinemas

The 27th edition of Days of European Film is the first big film festival since restrictions were eased

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 09.06.2020 07:18:51 (updated on 09.06.2020) Reading time: 4 minutes

The first big film festival since coronavirus restrictions were eased will be the Days of European Film (DEF), running June 16–21 at Prague’s Světozor, Lucerna and Kino Pilotů.

The 27th edition of the festival will present 40 films from nearly 30 European countries this year. Most films have English and Czech subtitles, and a few entries are in English.

This year’s lineup includes award winners, debuts, and genre-mixing movies. The program is divided into six sections covering a broad range of topics: Fear and Dreams, No Parents, Stars, Film and Music, To the Point – Into the Wild, and MEDIA – Ludicrous World. There is also a program of special events and several virtual reality entries.

DEF programming director Šimon Šafránek picked out some highlights. “The entire program places great emphasis on female characters. In the opening comedy Extra Ordinary, Rose, a female driving instructor, tries to save rural Ireland from specters and ghosts. The lead female character of the film God Exists, Her Name Is Petrunija is a 30-year-old Petrunija who has a university degree but is unable to find a job and still lives with her parents” he said. That film won the European Parliament’s LUX 2019 award.

“In the Swiss drama With the Wind, we watch the infatuation of a female farmer played by Mélanie Thierry,” he said. A woman who has led a sheltered rural life falls for a man who comes to install a wind turbine.

He also praised Ivana the Terrible. “Director Ivana Mladenović cast herself in the role of a struggling actress who returns to her hometown,” he said.

The relationship between a female psychiatrist (Carice van Houten) and a male prisoner convicted of rape is examined in Instinct by Dutch filmmaker Halina Reijn. “In the English-language film The Other Lamb, Polish author Małgorzata Szumowska follows the story of a girl from a female religious community. Director Victor Lindgren’s The Unpromised Land shows a fragile friendship of two different girls in a small Swedish town,” he said.

The section meaningfully titled No Parents shows the audience a group of high-school graduate girls on a yacht in the Mediterranean in the Italian comedy Likemeback. “The program also includes the exceptional Greek horror film Entwined by Minos Nikolakakis about a city doctor who leaves for the countryside and whose happiness and horror then materializes in the form of a girl named Danae,” he concluded.

Festival director Barbora Golatová pointed out some of the special events. “I would like to invite the audience specifically to two events that deal with current topics. In the To the Point – Into the Wild section, we will present a film titled Fire Will Come, in conjunction with the Café Europa platform, an established format of debates about current European topics, this time with a focus on the issues of drought and wildfires,” she said.

“In the same section, we will present Space Dogs, which will be followed by a debate with the Voice of Animals organization, which advocates for animal rights and files lawsuits if these rights are violated. In June, an amendment to the Criminal Code written by this organization will come into force. This will amend the inadequate legislation governing the protection of animals and will enact stricter penalties for cruelty to animals and stricter rules for the operation of breeding stations. This organization has played an important part in making sure that this amendment is approved,” Golatová added.

Greek Debt Crisis is the name of a special event at which DEF will screen the French-Greek film Adults in the Room from director Costa-Gavras. This is a film adaptation of the memoir by the Minister of Finance Yanis Varoufakis who stood up to global financial institutions.

The screening will be complemented with an economic-political scientific debate with the well-known economist Tomáš Sedláček who was an advisor to President Václav Havel and who authored a book titled Economics of Good and Evil, which has become a bestseller.

Virtual reality has also been integrated into the program. “Virtual reality is the place to which creative imagination is currently moving,” program director Šafránek said. “As part of the festival, we will present a testimony about the nuclear disaster in Fukushima titled After The Fallout and the film TX Reverse, which bends time and space in a compelling manner. The Czech VR creations will be represented in the Film and Music section by Brainz Music House: Tata Bojs, Kafka Band and I Love You Honey Bunny. These three unique bands will invite you to their studios.”

The Austrian project TX Reverse was screened at the Sundance Festival in January. It breaks down the conventional perception of a film as fluent narration in time.

The To the Point – Into the Wild section has several VR offerings including 2nd Step, about an expedition into space, and Ex Anima, showing a fascination with horses.

The program of the 27th Days of European Film can be found on the festival website, and more information is on the Facebook page.

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