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MADE IN PRAGUE REVIEW: ‘The Teacher’ (2016) – Jan Hřebejk’s winning dissection of small-town power-structures under communism

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When Maria Draždechová (Zuzana Mauréry) enters her new classroom, she invites her new students to a round of introductions – as one would. Yet Draždechová isn’t so much interested in the children as in what their parents do: the ‘poor widow’ of a Russian officer,  Draždechová gradually coerces the parents into helping her with errands…

Julia Secklehner | November 16, 2017
'The Wolf from Royal Vineyard Street' (2016)

MADE IN PRAGUE REVIEW: ‘The Wolf from Royal Vineyard Street’ – Jan Němec’s swan song glimpse at a life well lived

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Alongside household names such as Miloš Forman and František Vláčil, Jan Němec was one of the key personalities responsible for the pioneering Czechoslovak New Wave cinema of the 1960s.   Given his death at the age of seventy-nine on the final day of shooting, Vlk z Královských Vinohrad (The Wolf from Royal Vineyard Street) was…

Oliver Buxton | November 14, 2017
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PREVIEW: 21st MADE IN PRAGUE Festival (8 November – 6 December)

‘The annual Made in Prague Festival in its 21st edition presents a wonderful offering of films, visual arts, literature, theatre and music celebrating artistic expression, pursuing significant stories and engaging in extraordinary conversations. Hosting the first UK retrospective of film director Jan Němec, the festival unveils the Czech nominations for European and Academy Film Awards…

Robin Ashenden | November 8, 2017
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FILM REVIEW: Smith and Genoux’s ‘School Number Three’ (2016) – Teenage voices from the Donbass conflict

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Yelizaveta Smith and Georg Genoux’s School Number Three is a documentary with a deceptively simple storyline: it records stories told by teenagers who have lived through the crisis in Ukraine’s Donetsk region, which started almost four years ago in November 2013. Based on the documentary play by Natalia Vorozhbyt – one of Ukraine’s leading playwrights…

Julia Secklehner | October 3, 2017
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INTERVIEW: CEEL Contributor Agne Dovydaidyte on her forthcoming documentary about Lithuanian rural life

Lithuanian villages, as in most of Eastern Europe, are now in semi-terminal decline. Once lively places known for their traditions and values, they are increasingly deserted. Schools are closing down, and once-thriving churches becoming monuments to the past. So when CEEL contributor Agne Dovydaityte found her grandfather’s diary, detailing daily life in one such settlement…

Borimir Totev | September 12, 2017
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OPEN CITY DOCS PREVIEW: Vitaly Mansky’s ‘Private Chronicles: Monologue’ and ‘Gagarin’s Pioneers’: a human face on the Soviet (and post-Soviet) experiment

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One of the highlights of this year’s Open City Docs festival is a quartet of documentaries by an almost unknown (in the UK) 53 year-old Ukrainian Jewish film-maker, Vitaly Mansky who, since his debut in 1989, has now completed over 30 films, and been nominated four times for the prestigious Nika award. His fidelity to…

Robin Ashenden | September 7, 2017
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Interview with Alec Secareanu – leading actor in Francis Lee’s groundbreaking Anglo-Romanian LGBT drama

Alec Secareanu plays Gheorghe Ionescu in God’s Own Country, the award-winning debut feature film by writer/director Francis Lee, which tells the story of a young Yorkshire farmer who finds himself caught up in a love story with a Romanian farm worker. A powerful film, bracingly different from mainstream LGBT cinema, it’s also unwittingly reflective of…

Borimir Totev | September 1, 2017
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PREVIEW: OPEN CITY DOCS: CEE Titles Featured (6-10 September)

August 28, 2017 PRIVATE CHRONICLES. MONOLOGUE. VITALY MANSKY / 1999 / RUSSIA / 95′ WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 6, 2017 – 20:30 Exploring the collective life of the generation born as Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space, Mansky worked with over 5,000 hours of home movies to create this unique chronicle of everyday life in the…

Robin Ashenden | August 28, 2017
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REVIEW: Xameleon Theatre – Chekhov’s vision of ‘Love in a Nutshell’

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Xameleon Theatre treat London audiences to a new insight into the life and works of Chekhov in their innovative production Love in a Nutshell at the  Cockpit Theatre, Marylebone. Performed in Russian with English subtitles, the production adapts nine of the playwright’s short stories on the theme of love and marriage, linked by a commentary from…

Margaret Drummond | June 22, 2017