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Věra Chytilová Festival: ‘Flights and Falls’ (2000), reviewed by Valenka Navea

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‘The aesthetic side needs to be connected to the spiritual side’ –  thus says the elderly Václav Chochola in Věra Chytilová’s documentary Flights and Falls, an attempt to document a slice of the boho Czech photographic scene from the fifties to the seventies. This 2-part film is rare on so many levels – in the way it attempts…

Valenka Navea | 20/03/2015
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Věra Chytilová Festival: ‘Prefab Story’ (1980) reviewed by Jonathan Karstadt

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Every year, millions of tourists flood to Prague to gaze in wonder at the city’s breathtaking medieval architecture. Practically untouched by the bombing that devastated so many of Europe’s historical cities during two world wars, the city’s picturesque beauty is augmented by the relative lack of modern, high-rise buildings in the city centre. But few…

Jonathan Karstadt | 19/03/2015
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Věra Chytilová Festival: ‘The Apple Game’ (1977) reviewed by Eugenia Ellanskaya

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When the beautiful young Anna joins a busy birth ward in Prague’s hospital, everything seems to go wrong. She drops things and fusses, gets in everyone’s way and can’t perform even mundane tasks like plugging in a device in an operating theatre. The doctors despair in eye-rolling  frustration, but the obstetrician, Dr. John, soon sends…

Eugenia Ellanskaya | 17/03/2015
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Věra Chytilová Festival: ‘Daisies’ (1966) reviewed by Julia Secklehner

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‘If everything is going bad in this world, so will we,’ Marie says to Marie as they sit against a wall, pulling funny faces. And so their theatrical, surreal, destructive odyssey starts. The girls have dinner with older men, scoffing down copious amounts of cake, getting drunk and annoying strangers in careless and carefree nights…

Julia Secklehner | 09/03/2015
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Věra Chytilová Festival: ‘Fruit of Paradise’ (1969) reviewed by Depo Olukotun

Věra Chytilová’s 1969 film The Fruit of Paradise (Ovoce stromu rajských jíme) is a Czech avant-garde interpretation of the Biblical Expulsion from Eden. Chytilová in her cinematic experiment – which raised a political storm on its release and gained her a cult following – puts female desire at the centre of a modern tryst between…

Depo Olukotun | 09/03/2015
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Jan Kott Our Contemporary: Contexts, Legacies, New Perspectives – reviewed by Valenka Navea

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‘Shamanistic charlatanism!’ ‘A pernicious influence on Peter Brook!’ Like a Greek chorus the accusations flung at Polish critic Jan Kott when his ground-breaking book ‘Shakespeare Our Contemporary’ exploded onto the international theatre scene in 1964 were almost apocalyptic in their virulence. Which begs the question – why the need for an all-day conference on Jan…

Valenka Navea | 01/03/2015
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‘Songs of Lear’ at the BAC reviewed by Valenka Navea

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In the wake of last week’s conference at the Rose Theatre Kingston on  Shakespeare Our Contemporary, Jan Kott’s mouldbreaking 1964 book which juxtaposed the Bard with Ionesco, Beckett and post-war political reality, comes Polish company Song of the Goat’s Songs of Lear. The show, we’re told, will bring ‘to life the subtle energies and rhythms…

Valenka Navea | 01/03/2015
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Sergei Loznitsa’s Maidan (2014), reviewed by Jonathan Karstadt

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If you’ve read a newspaper, browsed the internet or watched television in the last twelve months, it’s unlikely you’ll have failed to hear the dreadful news emanating from Ukraine. The civil war that broke out in the east there, following Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsular in March last year,  has claimed over 5000 lives…

Jonathan Karstadt | 26/02/2015
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Florin Piersic Jr’s ‘Freak Show’ reviewed by Camelia Ciobanu

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Humanity is by no means short of afflictions and artists never tire of exposing them. One of these exposés is Florin Piersic jr.’s latest theatre project Freak Show, which has just made it to London’s West End. The play is in Romanian, and is the ultimate one-man show –  written, directed and acted by Piersic…

Camelia Ciobanu | 02/02/2015
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‘Ida’ (Pawlikowski, 2013) at Ognisko Kinoclub reviewed by Patricia Manos

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There are many reasons to see  Pawel Pawlikowski’s Ida (2013) aside from the impressive list of awards and nominations attached to it, and the lead performance is one of them. It must be difficult to give substance to a character with so little dialogue, but Agata Trzebuchowska conveys the reticence and awkwardness of the main…

Patricia Manos | 26/01/2015