News KVIFF Classics: Second annual celebration of legendary films at Prague cinemas

Published: November 15, 2023| 01:05 PM

This 14–16 December 2023, the second annual KVIFF Classics mini-festival comes to Prague’s Světozor and Ponrepo cinemas. Audiences will have the chance to see films that have gone down in cinematic history, made by some of the world’s most famous directors. This mini-festival is held under the auspices of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in collaboration with the National Film Archive. The organizers’ vision is to follow in the footsteps of the Karlovy Vary film festival’s tradition of presenting digitally restored films and retrospectives. KVIFF Classics once again offers audiences the unique opportunity to see gems of Czech and world cinema on the big screen.

“Exclusively on the big screen, we present a pre-Christmas bundle of brilliant cult films from Czechoslovakia, the United States, England, Japan, Italy, and France that will amaze audiences, make them laugh, touch them, and move them deeply,” says KVIFF’s artistic director Karel Och. “The older and modern classic films feature unprecedented performances and pay witness to phenomenal directors, distinctive cinematographers, and outstanding composers of music. The films – a lavish epic, a psychological drama, a spicy comedy, an animated anti-war drama, and a stylish gangster film – all come with erudite introductions that add to the unique and inimitable cinema-going experience.”

The festival opens at Kino Světozor on Thursday 14 December 2023 at 7pm with the Czech film Oil Lamps. Director Juraj Herz’s acclaimed and visually stylized psychological study, with unforgettable performances by Iva Janžurová and Petr Čepek, will be shown in a new, digitally restored 4K version. The film is yet another domestic title to have been digitally restored thanks to a financial gift from Eduard and Milada Kučera.

Also at Kino Světozor, KVIFF Classics presents director Giuseppe Tornatore’s French-Italian film Cinema Paradiso. One of the most beautiful cinematic tributes to film and the big screen, featuring Philippe Noiret in a starring role, Cinema Paradiso earned the Grand Prix at Cannes and won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

The neo-noir Le Samouraï by the master of cinematic stylishness Jean-Pierre Melville is a cinematic delicacy starring the unforgettable Alain Delon that is admired by critics and audiences alike.

Days of Heaven, the second, legendary film by recent octogenarian Terrence Malick (upon completion of which this most secretive director disappeared for twenty years) has frequently been called one of the best of the 1970s and rightfully won an Academy Award for Best Cinematography.

Grave of the Fireflies, a masterpiece by Isao Takahata, a colleague of Hayao Miyazaki’s from the famous Studio Ghibli, counts among the best examples of Japanese animation. Set in the final months of the Second World War, it is considered by many to be one of the most moving antiwar films ever made.

The irresistibly charming romance and subtly satirical comedy The Apartment is the ideal film for the pre-Christmas season. Jack Lemmon – one of the greatest comic actors of all time – shines in this lesser known cinematic gem by director Billy Wilder (Some Like It Hot, Avanti!).

This December it will be ten years since the death of actor Peter O’Toole. KVIFF Classics concludes with his first big role, in Sir David Lean’s Oscar-winning Lawrence of Arabia, a legendary film that has become a timeless cinematic spectacle.

The program also includes two films at Kino Ponrepo, the screening room of the National Film Archive: 1900, Bernardo Bertolucci’s lavish historical drama starring Robert De Niro and Gérard Depardieu, and the social ballad The Shaft of Buried Ideas, a unique silent film shown with original musical accompaniment by the internationally acclaimed Czech acoustic duo Šimanský & Niesner. 

Tickets for KVIFF Classics will be available from the ticket offices and websites of the Světozor and Ponrepo cinemas starting 15 November. More information about the program and the films is available at

All the films are being shown with English subtitles.​


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