The 28th edition of Days of European Film starts in Prague on June 16

Now that cinemas have reopened, film festivals are starting up again with DEF among the first.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 14.06.2021 11:40:00 (updated on 14.06.2021) Reading time: 3 minutes

The first major film festival since cinemas reopened will be Days of European Film, which will run in Prague on June 16–20 at the Lucerna, Světozor, Kino Pilotů and Přítomnost cinemas. It also has editions in Brno, Ostrava, and other Czech towns through June 23. Many films will have English and Czech subtitles.

For 28 years, DEF has focused exclusively on contemporary European film. Nearly 50 full-length feature films from all over Europe are on the program this year, and for the first time the festival will also have an online mode.

“In this year’s program, we have been focusing on exciting experiences, courageous formal works, and on the celebration of the existence of cinema as such. That’s where the force of the 28th edition of DEF lies,” DEF program manager Šimon Šafránek said.

The 28th annual edition of the festival will kick off with Simple Passion (Prostě vášeň) by Lebanese-French director Danielle Arbid. The adaptation of Annie Ernaux’s erotic novel about a divorced woman and Russian diplomat features French-Swiss actor Laetitia Dosch and Ukrainian ballet dancer Sergei Polunin. The film premiered at Cannes, and has a 71 percent score on ratings site Rotten Tomatoes.

A special event screening of the music documentary Meky will be followed by a concert by Meky Zbirka and discussion with filmmaker Šimon Šafránek. The film will be without English subtitles, though, and the music is also in Czech and Slovak.

Director Viera Čákanyová will introduce her new film White on White (Bilá na bilé), which will be shown with English subtitles. The film is a documentary of her stay on the Polish base in Antarctica, where she sought advice from artificial intelligence and battled with isolation in a bleak landscape.

The main program is divided into six sections. In the Stars section, the only film listed with English subtitles is Simple Passion. Films in Czech of with just Czech titles include the biopic Charlatan (Šarlatán), Polish drama Corpus Christi, and the Oscar-winning Danish film Another Round (Chlast).

Six films in the Fears and Dreams section are English-friendly. The category includes crime stories, horror movies, and exceptional dramas. One notable entry is the Polish drama Supernova, which won multiple awards at festivals. It looks at a tragedy surrounding an argument between a woman and her hard-drinking husband. There is also the Irish black comedy Redemption of a Rogue (Vykoupení bouřlivákovo), which sees an unwelcome son try to return to his family for a funeral.

The No Parents section has five English-friendly films. The Austrian-Swiss drama Lovecut focuses on three teenage couples facing identity and sexuality in the age of social media. The Swiss drama Spagat (Provaz) shows us a Ukrainian worker illegally living in Switzerland and trying to raise his daughter. Turmoil ensues when she is caught shoplifting.

The film and music section is highlighted by the award winning Swedish film Run, Uje, Run (Utíkej, Uje, utíkej!), where musician and actor Uje Brandelius plays himself in an autobiographical music comedy. There is also a VR presentation of music by Tata Bojs.

The To the Point section focuses on the timely idea of seclusion. Aside from the already mentioned White on White, another highlight is the English-language Danish film the Trouble With Nature (Potíže s přírodou). This costume drama shows philosopher Edmund Burke making a journey to the French Alps during his mid-life crisis.

Older films will be shown in the section Media – Between the Lines. The only English-friendly entry is the 2011 version of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (Jeden musí z kola ven) starring Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, and Tom Hardy. It is based on the John le Carré novel.

A full schedule can be found on the festival website, and more info is on the Facebook page.

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