Sections of 53rd KVIFF
- Official Selection - Competition
- Official Selection - Out of Competition
- East of the West - Competition
- Documentary Films - Competition
- Special Events
- Another View
- Future Frames: Ten New Filmmakers To Follow
- Midnight Screenings
- Czech Films 2017–2018
- Made in Texas: Tribute to Austin Film Society
- Reflections of Time: Baltic Poetic Documentary
- People Next Door
- Seven Close Encounters
- Out of the Past
- Prague Short Film Festival Presents
Directed by: Mohamed Siam
Egypt, Lebanon, France, Germany, Norway, Denmark, Qatar, 2017, 83 min
This long-term observational portrait of teenager Amal takes us to post-revolution Egypt. The turbulent fate of the country is also reflected in the vague gender role of the protagonist, an intrepid street protest leader and devoted daughter obliged to find her way through the intricacies of an Arab society undergoing precipitous transformation.
And Breathe Normally
A dýchejte klidně /
Directed by: Ísold Uggadóttir
Iceland, 2018, 100 min
While Lára, a single mother with a drug history, struggles with her oppressive situation in life, Adja is attempting illegally to get to her daughter into Canada via Iceland. When the two women’s lives intersect at passport control, neither of them realises to what extent coincidence will influence their future. A socio-critical drama which won Sundance’s Directing Award.
Tina a Vore /
Directed by: Ali Abbasi
Sweden, Denmark, 2018, 102 min
Reclusive customs officer Tina is gifted with an extraordinary sense of smell. Any passengers trying to smuggle contraband won’t get very far: she can sniff out their fear and anxiety straight off. One day, however, suspicious-looking Vore walks past her and suddenly everything is different. This original variation on the Nordic noir detective genre about love, people, and other creatures won an award at the Cannes IFF 2018.
Země hojnosti /
La terra dell’abbastanza
Directed by: Damiano D’Innocenzo, Fabio D’Innocenzo
Italy, 2018, 96 min
Thanks to pure chance, two young men get an opportunity to work for the Mafia. The money piles up and they happily accept every assignment the syndicate gives them – it’s like a dream. And yet perhaps they have decided to grow up a little too fast. The narrative takes an uncompromising stance towards their social reality but also towards the protagonists themselves.
Directed by: Nanouk Leopold
Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, 2017, 94 min
Bas Keizer excels as Cobain, a boy from a children’s home who works for the charismatic pimp Wickmayer. He takes care of the latter’s “merchandise” and, in his dealings with the prostitutes, he paradoxically finally finds his place in the world. Until the reappearance of his mother, who also used to walk the streets.
Directed by: Gabriel Abrantes, Daniel Schmidt
Portugal, France, Brazil, 2018, 92 min
Diamantino is a Portuguese soccer player enjoying international stardom. When he fails to deliver the goods during an all-important championship cup final, he sets out on a delirious odyssey in search of talent and true love, during which he is confronted with the refugee crisis, genetic engineering, and neo-fascism. The piece earned a reputation as the most singular film at Cannes 2018 where it took the Critics’ Week Grand Prize.
Directed by: Sergei Loznitsa
Germany, Ukraine, France, Netherlands, Romania, 2018, 121 min
Poignant fragments of the spectral existence of an eastern Ukrainian republic straddling the border between law and injustice, fantasy and reality, dreams and nightmares. The artistically treated documentary material provides disturbing evidence of the intense bifurcation of fact and fiction in today’s pseudo-reality of media images.
An Elephant Sitting Still
Sedící slon /
Da xiang xi di er zuo
Directed by: Hu Bo
China, 2018, 234 min
In the city of Manzhouli they say they have an elephant that sits and sits all day long. The peculiar legend about the apathetic pachyderm introduces a beautifully filmed elegy, in which four dejected protagonists bumble through a hopeless day. One of the most important film events of this year’s Berlinale, if not the entire festival season, screened in the Forum section away from the fight for those prestigious Bears.
Directed by: Agnieszka Smoczyńska
Poland, Czech Republic, Sweden, 2018, 103 min
An unknown woman suffering from memory loss turns up one day at Warsaw’s main station. Two years later, going by the name of Alicja, she is recognised in a television programme and goes back to her family. Yet will she be able to relate to people who were once close to her but are now complete strangers? This atmospheric psychological drama is dominated by a focused performance from Gabriela Muskała, who also wrote the script for the film.
The Gentle Indifference of the World
Něžná netečnost světa /
Laskovoe bezrazlichie mira
Directed by: Adilkhan Yerzhanov
Kazakhstan, France, 2018, 100 min
Due to her father’s debts, Saltanat must exchange her simple life on the Kazakh steppe for the cynical world of the city, where promises and people have zero value. Kuandyk’s attempt to protect his beloved Saltanat in the cutthroat human jungle is as touching as it is naïve. The story of a powerful, pure love – something we judge as rarely attainable.
Directed by: Hong Sangsoo
South Korea, 2017, 66 min
The latest film by the veteran Korean director focuses on a small café where customers meet around the tables. Only one woman sits alone and watches the others. Situations in life constantly repeat themselves, yet life is never the same. Just like filmmaking, which itself is endless movement.
Tísňové volání /
Directed by: Gustav Möller
Denmark, 2018, 85 min
Asger is finishing one of the many annoying duties at the police station when he gets a call from a kidnapped woman. Can he help her quickly and with strategic savvy? A procedural thriller drawing on the Scandi crime drama tradition, which dispenses with action scenes without sacrificing its adrenaline punch.
Chris the Swiss
Švýcar Chris /
Chris the Swiss
Directed by: Anja Kofmel
Switzerland, Croatia, Germany, Finland, 2018, 90 min
In 1992 the body of a young Swiss journalist was found in Croatia dressed in a uniform donned by international mercenaries. Nineteen years later his cousin Anja attempts to uncover the background to Chris’s murder. Following in his tracks she discovers a painful story of the search for conscience, adventure, and the meaning of war.
Directed by: Shahram Mokri
Iran, 2017, 102 min
Everyone is suspiciously pale. Humankind of the future is beset with epidemics. Part of the planet is shrouded in eternal darkness. The world is divided by impassable borders. This spectacular game played with the viewer brings together a dystopia, a sports-world crime drama, and a mysterious romance laced with vampirism – all in a single shot.
In My Room
U mě doma /
In My Room
Directed by: Ulrich Köhler
Germany, Italy, 2018, 120 min
Armin lives alone and avoids any and all commitments. He’s spent so long deciding among the options his freedom offers that they’ve now all become wasted opportunities. When he wakes up one day to discover that mankind has almost completely disappeared, he will, for the first time ever, have to decide what to do with his life…
Světelné roky /
Directed by: Manuel Abramovich
Argentina, Spain, Brazil, 2017, 72 min
We’re on the set of the period film Zama by director Lucrecia Martel, where actors in Spanish colonisers’ wigs pull on cigarettes and are then, moments later, running away from menacing-looking Indians covered in war paint. Light Years offers a glimpse into the working methods of South America’s most prominent female filmmaker while, instead of the traditional peeks behind the scenes, it serves up a restrained, poetic observational piece.
Directed by: Andréa Bescond, Eric Métayer
France, 2018, 103 min
Fact, memories and imaginings merge together in this explosive drama, in which dancer, actress, screenwriter and director Andréa Bescond processes her own traumatic experiences as a child who was sexually abused by a family friend. This rousing picture, incorporating moments of humour despite its weighty theme, was a hit at Cannes this year.
Directed by: John Caroll Lynch
USA, 2017, 88 min
A remembrance of the late Harry Dean Stanton, who died in 2017. The film narrative catches Lucky at a time when his daily routine is interrupted. Forced to face up to his own mortality, Lucky feels that all his jovial fellow citizens should be conscious of the inevitability of death and the subsequent void, and that this knowledge needn’t be a painful experience.
Directed by: Olga Chajdas
Poland, 2018, 130 min
Nina can’t have children, and it seems that the only way to save her languishing marriage is to find a surrogate to carry a baby for her and husband Wojtek. Meeting the independent Magda causes her to doubt taking such a major step because the young woman evokes feelings in her she never even knew were possible.
Verše zapomnění /
Los Versos del Olvido
Directed by: Alireza Khatami
France, Germany, Netherlands, Chile, 2017, 92 min
One day the caretaker of the morgue at a state-run cemetery finds the body of a girl, who was killed during a demonstration, hidden in a pullout cabinet. Although he’s on the run, he decides to bury her properly. The protagonist’s journey is a concatenation of poetic encounters. The desire for life and to remain open to the poetry of the world wins out over death and destruction.
Náš boj /
Directed by: Guillaume Senez
Belgium, France, 2018, 98 min
We try to be successful at work, in our relationships, and in carrying out family responsibilities. But sometimes it becomes impossible, as Olivier discovers when his marriage falls apart, perhaps because he took it for granted. A masterly minimalist drama about a man left alone to face his life.
Directed by: Babis Makridis
Greece, Poland, 2018, 99 min
The story of a man who only feels happy when he is unhappy. And to be happy he’s willing to do anything… A brutal comedy about an addiction to sorrow and pity, co-authored by top scribe of the Greek Weird Wave, Efthimis Filippou (Dogtooth, The Lobster, Alps, The Killing of a Sacred Deer)
Directed by: Timur Bekmambetov
United Kingdom, USA, Russia, Cyprus, 2018, 105 min
To aid her in investigating the recruitment of girls into ISIS, a journalist sets up a fake Facebook account and is immediately contacted by one of the members of the terrorist organization. The new thriller from Timur Bekmambetov, which takes place entirely on a computer screen, keeps the suspense ratcheted up tight until the very last moment.
The Queen of Fear
Královna strachu /
La reina del miedo
Directed by: Valeria Bertuccelli, Fabiana Tiscornia
Argentina, Denmark, 2018, 107 min
Author and protagonist Robertina is readying a career-defining one-woman show. Everything has been arranged, they’re just touching up her smile on the posters. For her, uncertainty in life evokes an innate reaction: unrelenting fear. Robertina must once again prove that she can use it as a creative force.
Directed by: Wanuri Kahiu
Kenya, 2018, 82 min
The first Kenyan film to be chosen for Cannes’ Official Selection presents the new face of African cinema, which boldly breaks down traditional taboos. In this case the story of two schoolgirls who fall in love, even though their fathers are political rivals and, moreover, firmly entrenched in a fierce campaign…
A Skin So Soft
Hladká kůže /
Ta Peau si lisse
Directed by: Denis Côté
Canada, Switzerland, France, 2017, 94 min
This merciless observational piece focuses on modern gladiators (wrestlers, bodybuilders, and trainers) who maintain extreme diets, toil in the weight room, and follow a strict daily routine. Each of these peak individuals has a different goal, but they all share the same obsession: to push beyond the limits of their bodies.
Directed by: Wolfgang Fischer
Germany, Austria, 2018, 94 min
A successful German doctor fulfils a long-held dream to sail across the Atlantic Ocean. She is prepared for anything – at least she thinks she is. However, her pilgrimage to Ascension Island is cut short when she comes across a boat overloaded with refugees.
Den vítězství /
Directed by: Sergei Loznitsa
Germany, 2018, 94 min
Seventy years on from the end of the war, celebrating the victory over Nazism is a red-letter day which propels many people to don their best outfits, folk costumes and military uniforms and, with an intense sense of national pride, set off to honour its memory. An observational documentary that conveys the power of ideology and nostalgia as it captures the celebrations in Berlin’s Treptower Park.
Ein Betulot Bakrayot
Directed by: Keren Ben Rafael
France, Israel, Belgium, 2017, 91 min
Teenager Lana has had just about enough of her dull hometown, her mother, and her mother’s failing beach café. But things start to look up with the arrival of a young journalist and the rumour that a mermaid has been spotted near the shore. A movie filled with poetic images of the sea coast that brings back memories of adolescence, a time when we were seething with rebellion but were also highly vulnerable.