Prague film festival Febiofest to take place at a new location from September 18-25

Prague's biggest film festival has been moved from the spring, but will still present most of its planned schedule

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 08.09.2020 15:42:26 (updated on 08.09.2020) Reading time: 4 minutes

The Febiofest Prague International Film Festival will take place in a new location and on new dates. The 27th edition of the festival runs September 18–25 at Cinema City Slovanský dům, with additional screenings at Ponrepo, Edison Film Hub and Kino Pilotů. Most films will be English friendly, but some, especially in the retrospective sections, are not.

The festival was originally scheduled for March at a different venue, but had to be postponed just days before it was supposed to start due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The opening film will be Karel, a documentary about the late pop star Karel Gott, directed by Olga Malířová Špátová. The film takes viewers backstage at his concerts, plus shows intimate moments with his family. His 60 year career included painting, in addition to singing.

The closing of the festival will be Truth (Pravda), from director Hirokazu Koreeda. Catherine Deneuve stars as an aging French actress who has just published her memoirs. Her daughter and son in law (Juliette Binoche and Ethan Hawke) come to visit, sparking drama. The same director won the Palme d’Or at Cannes for his previous film, Shoplifters.

Due to the travel situation, no big international film stars have been announced yet. Czech actress Iva Janžurová and Slovak actor Milan Lasica will receive a Kristián Awards. The award is named for a classic 1939 Czechoslovak film.

Iva Janžurová in Morgiana, 1972

Janžurová’s films Morgiana, Boarding House for Bachelors (Pension pro svobodné pány) and Ene Bene will be screened. Lasica’s work will be represented by The Three Veterans (Tri veteráni).

The main competition will have five films. These include Ivan Ostrochovský’s drama Servants (Služebníci), which played in the Berlin IFF; Amjad Abu Alala’s You will Die at Twenty (Zemřeš ve dvaceti), which won the award for best debut in Venice; Pietro Marcello’s Martin Eden, based on a Jack London novel; Maria Sødahl’s Hope (Naděje), featuring Bræin Hovig and Stellan Skarsgård; and Mariusz Wilczyński’s Kill It and Leave This Town (Zabij to a opusť město), an animated feature about a man trapped in a fantasy land.

The three judges are Czech directors, whose films will also be shown: Beata Parkanová’s debut Moments (Chvilky), Slávek Horák’s new biopic Havel and Jiří Mádl’s love drama The Play (Hra), in which he had the main role.

New this year is a competition for comedy, judged by 33 film fans. Seven entries include the LUX prize winner God Exists, Her Name Is Petrunija (Bůh existuje a její jméno je Petrunie) and the Indian comedy Eeb Allay Ooo! (Opičí muž). The competition will be opened by the Israeli comedy Mossad!

For the sixth time this year, the human rights movement Amnesty International will award the prize for the best film connected with human rights issues. Six films will be competing.

“”We believe that adherence to the basics human rights is a societal issue and that the fight against injustice cannot be won without the attention and pressure of society. Movies have the power to point out the problems. And this opens up the possibility of their solution. That’s why Amnesty is a proud partner of Febiofest,” Czech Amnesty director and jury member Linda Sokačová said.

Many new films not in the competitions can be found in the Panorama section. Roman Polanski’s An Officer and a Spy (Žaluji!), about France’s 19th century Dreyfus Affair, won the second-biggest prize, the Silver Lion, at the Venice International Film Festival.

The social drama Corpus Christi by Polish director Jan Komasa was nominated for Best International Feature Film at this year’s Oscars, but did not win. The story of a young man who undergoes a spiritual transformation at a youth detention center had its world premiere at Venice.

Fans of the children’s show Mr Rogers Neighborhood will have a chance to see Tom Hanks play the beloved and kind-hearted host in the film A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. A journalist is assigned to write about Fred Rogers, and a deep bond develops between the two.

There are slightly fewer films than in previous years. “Less is more. It makes more sense to us. When we already have films at the festival, it is better to present them repeatedly, give them more space and take care of them. I think every movie in our program deserves attention,” program director Marta Švecová Lamperová said.

The program doesn’t lack variety, though. There will be a retrospective of German-born director Max Ophüls, horror and thriller films in Planet Dark, a section of Eastern European films, Girls in Film, Queer Now, films by Atom Egoyan and Oren Moverman, Korean films, films dealing with generational issues, documentaries, and more. The culinary cinema section this year will only have one film, due to restrictions.

An accompanying program will take place at the Savarin Garden. Smaller version of the festival will take place in six cities during the end of September and start of October.

Information on tickets and viewer accreditation can be found on the festival website.

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