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  Arts & Living
1st Czech Film Week in Seoul Runs Dec. 6-13
Opening Ceremony Hosted by Czech Amb. Smetanka

A presentation covering the vibrant and inspiring development of Czech movies over the last 50 years runs from Dec. 6 to Dec. 13, 2006 in Seoul Art Cinema in Jongno-gu central Seoul.

Altogether eight films that represent true highlights of the rich history of the Czech cinema are currently shown (with Korean and English subtitles), most of them for the first time in South Korea.

On Dec. 6, 2006 the first day of the Czech Film Week Czech Ambassador to Seoul Tomas Smetanka hosted a opening ceremony after the showing of "The Joke," based on Milan Kundera's novel.

Among about 150 guests were Prof. Kwon Jae-Il of Department of Czech Language of Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (HUFS) and Prof. Kim Kyu-Chin, dean of HUFS' College of Central & East European Studies.

Czech Ambassador to Seoul Tomas Smetanka (second from left) poses with his wife (second from right) and other guests in the opening ceremony for the First Czech Film Week in Seoul.

The First Czech Film Festival subtitled "A Touch of Magic and a Punch of Reality" offers a unique insight into the cultural background and everyday feelings of the Czechs during the turbulent years of the 20th century.

The event is jointly organized by the Czech Embassy in Seoul and Seoul Art Cinema with the support of the Seoul Metropolitan Government.

A range of film stories unfold on the background of crucial events of the modern Czech history. The everyday dimension of the World War II is depicted in a tale of a young boy making his first erotic experiences in the gloomy days of German occupation (Closely Observed Trains, by Jiří Menzel, 1966) or an attendant of a funeral service gradually losing all moral limits, who can be seen as an embodiment of a fascist demagogue (Cremator, by Juraj Herz, 1968).

The Communist terror of the 1950s can be experienced through the black and white film about a student whose life was ruined due to a banal joke (The Joke, director Jaromil Jireš, 1968). The screenplay was written by Milan Kundera, author of the well-known Unbearable Lightness of Being. Despite the fame of Kundera, the film remains almost unknown, banned by the communist authorities for almost two decades. A recent film by Petr Nikolaev represents another, modern handling of the topic of the labor camps, where an unusual love story takes place (A Little Piece of Heaven, 2005).

Czech film "Loves of a Blonde" directed by Milos Forman (1932~ )

Films picturing joy, plights and hopes of everyday life are also included: Loves of a Blonde (1965) by Miloš Forman, who later made Amadeus, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest or The People vs. Larry Flint, Faun's Very Late Afternoon (1983) by Věra Chytilová, a globally understandable story about older man seducing young girls, or a feministic fantasy Daisies (1966) by the same director. Faust (1993) by Jan Švankmajer, a surreal rendition of the old Central European legend, reflects the magic dimension of the Czech culture.

For more information and program please view: www.cinematheque.seoul.kr or www.mzv.cz/seoul or contact the Czech Embassy in Seoul at 725-6765.

Time Table of First Czech Film Week in Seoul

12/6 (Wed)
17:00: Loves Of A Blond
19:30: The Joke
21:00: Opening Ceremony

12/7 (Thu)
15:30: The Very Late Afternoon of a Faun
18:00: The Cremator
20:30: Daisies

12/8 (Fri)
15:30: The Joke
18:00: Faust
20:30: Loves Of A Blond

12/9 (Sat)
15:30: A Little Piece of Heaven
18:00: The Very Late Afternoon of a Faun
20:30: Closely Observed Trains

12/10 (Sun)
15:30: Faust
18:00: Daisies
20:30: The Cremator

12/11 (Mon)
15:30: Loves Of A Blond
17:30: A Little Piece of Heaven

12/12 (Tue)
15:30: The Cremator
18:00: The Joke
20:30: Faust

12/13 (Wed)
16:00: Daisies
18:00: A Little Piece of Heaven
20:30: The Very Late Afternoon of a Faun



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