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Film Review: ‘Sunset’ (Nemes, 2018) + Q&A with Director László Nemes & Co-Writer Clare Royer – “a world on the brink of self-destruction”

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Before the film was screened, László Nemes advised the audience: ‘You’ll not need facts you usually need.’ And: ‘Accept the lack of control.’  There’s a nightmarish, disorderly quality in the bleached-out images of a pre-war Budapest of 1913 as the film opens. A young woman tries on hats in an exclusive hat shop. Scenes soon…

Alison Miller | 16/06/2019

Review: Science Café & Workshop – Can a Machine Replace an Artist? – ‘an exciting glimpse of the partnership between science and art’

Using popular mobile apps like Prisma and DeepArt anyone can produce a piece of stylised art from an input photo, but Daniel Sykora and his research group at the Czech Technical University argue that this wouldn’t pass an artistic version of the Turing test – where even the artist would’ve difficulty judging whether a painting…

Alison Miller | 11/06/2019
(c) Sasha Dovzhyk

Film Review: “The Trial: The state of Russia vs Oleg Sentsov ” (Kurov, 2017) – ‘informative and inspirational’

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In 2015 when Ukrainian, Crimean patriot Oleg Sentsov was convicted of trumped-up terrorist crimes he didn’t commit, the Moscow district court was told he’s not afraid of the twenty year sentence – ‘the rule of blood thirsty dwarves in your country will end sooner’. Askold Kurov’s documentary frames the progress of Sentsov’s trial in the…

Alison Miller | 30/05/2019
Still from "Ether" (Zanussi, 2018)

***KINOTEKA 2019*** Interview with Film-Maker Krzysztof Zanussi, Part One: “Life’s like being in a jungle. One wrong step and you’re lost.”

CEEL contributor Alison Miller met Polish director Krzysztof Zanussi before the screening of his latest film, Ether (2018), at the 17th Kinoteka Polish Film Festival in London. Alison Miller:  What I found fascinating about Ether was the way the philosophical questions were posed along-side a powerful historical drama – emotion was infused from one scene to the…

Alison Miller | 16/04/2019
From Jiří Kolář "Diary 1968". http://london.czechcentres.cz/programme/travel-events/diary-as-art-form-jiri-kolar-and-diary-1968/

“Diary as an art form: Jiří Kolář 1968” (BL Talk) – “an inspired exploration of a great Czech artist”

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In 2018, the Prague National Gallery held a retrospective to commemorate the 50thAnniversary of the 1968 Warsaw Pact invasion.  Jiří Kolář: Grimace of the Century concentrated on a selection of Kolář’s artworks connected with his poetry.  According to Milena Kalinovská, Director of the modern and contemporary art collection, ‘this illuminated the unorthodox way in which he formulated…

Alison Miller | 13/04/2019
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Remembering Jan Patočka: “The Socrates of Prague” (Willems, 2017) – ‘For those living through the bewildering chaos of Brexit in the UK his ideas couldn’t be more germane to charting a way out of the crisis.’

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In 1977, Jan Patočka became the unlikely spokesperson of the civil right movement Charter 77, challenging the flagrant disregard of human rights in Czechoslovakia.  Forty years later, his ideas have become very relevant in the time of increasing national chauvinism within Europe and elsewhere. For those living through the bewildering chaos of Brexit in the…

Alison Miller | 19/03/2019
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‘Pilecki’ (Krzyszkowskiego, 2015) screening and Q&A with Anthony Polonsky and Mary Fulbrook – an evening ‘driven by the passion and scholarship of Polonsky and Fulbrook’

Pilecki’s a Polish film about an undoubted World War II hero: Witold Pilecki (1901-1948), a member of the Polish resistance, who allowed himself to be arrested and sent to Auschwitz, from where he could escape again, providing one of the first accounts of Nazi atrocities in the concentration camps. Truly exceptional, it’s hardly any wonder…

Alison Miller | 09/02/2019
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Book Presentation: ‘XY&Z – The real story how Enigma was broken’ (Dermot Turing, 2018) – ‘an informed and engaging presentation, which overturned previous myths’

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This real story, researched by historian Dermot Turing, was a revelation. Turing provided an informed and engaging presentation which deftly over-turned previous myths of how the Enigma was broken. His opening remarks elicited loud gasps from the packed audience. For as early as 1932, Turing revealed, Polish mathematicians and engineers had already cracked Enigma codes.…

Alison Miller | 23/01/2019
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Film Review: ‘Bridges of Time’ (Briede & Stonys, 2018) – ‘a film that charmed and delivered its message with a warm heart’

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Here’s the thing. Imagine living in a society where self-expression is strictly censored. When you go to the cinema, in the images and stories you see, people are most valued as cogs in the state machine. Imagine also that you’re a documentary film-maker, passionate about revealing the lived experience of people in their day to day…

Alison Miller | 21/12/2018