Festival of French Film coming to Prague

A few sections of new and classic films have English subtitles

The 20th Festival of French Film runs Nov. 22 to 29 at Lucerna, Světozor, kino 35 (at the French Institute) and Cinestar Anděl. Films from the festival will also play in Brno, České Budějovice, Hradec Králové and Ostrava.

Not all of the films playing in Prague have English subtitles, so be sure to check the schedule. The Critics Choice section is English-friendly. These are nine recent films selected by Czech critics that played in film festivals such as Cannes, Berlin, Locarno, CoLCoA or Karlovy Vary.

A Woman’s Life (Une Vie / Příběh jednoho života) is an account of a woman who gradually experiences the harsh realities of 19th-century life. It won the FIPRESCI Award at the Venice Film Festival, among other prizes and nominations.

Mr & Mme Adelman (Monsieur & Madame Adelman / Pán a paní Adelmanovi) is a drama about the 45-year relationship between a couple, where the wife has been in the husband’s shadow. It won the Viewers Award at the CoLCoA (City of Light, City of Angels) Festival.

Music is a big theme in this section, by chance

Jazz fans will want to catch Django, a biopic about the French-Romany guitarist Django Reinhardt and his experiences trying to escape from World War II, as Roma were persecuted.

The music world is also the focus of Opera (L'Opéra), a behind the scenes look at a season of opera music in Paris.

We go backstage again for Mathieu Amalric’s film Barbara, about an enigmatic singer who like Madonna or Cher went by just a single name. She is not well-known outside of France, where she was incredibly popular.

Another signer’s life is told in the film Dalida, about the single-named Egyptian-French singer who shot to fame in the 1950s signing in French, Spanish, Arabic, Hebrew, German and Italian.

The final two in this section are Corporate (Korporace), which played in competition in Karlovy Vary and delves into the devious practices that a company uses against its own staff.

Ava is a coming of age film with a teenage girl who is losing her sight and spending a summer at the beach before it is too late.

Another section that is English friendly is the homage to Jean-Pierre Melville, a director who is regarded as the godfather of the French New Wave. Six of his classic crime films, influenced by the American film noir movement, will play. The Finger Man (Le Doulos / Práskač) stars Jean-Paul Belmondo, and The Red Circle (Le Cercle Rouge / Osudový kruh) stars Alain Delon and Yves Montand.

His 1956 film Bob le flambeur (Bob hazardér) is considered to be among his best and highly influential on the next generation of filmmakers.

Blocks of short films will also have English subtitles

The pre-premieres of films slated for Czech distribution are in French with just Czech subtitles, but if you know either language then the post World War I drama See You Up There (Au revoir là-haut / Na shledanou tam nahoře) is a visual treat. The section also has biopics on Gauguin and the Lumière Brothers, among several other films.

A section of recent hits has 120 Beats Per Minute (120 battements par minute/120 BPM), the story of Paris branch of Act Up, which tried to draw attention to the lack of action about the AIDS crisis in the 1990s.

Films that played in Cannes from 2011 to 2016 are another section that just has Czech subtitles. Two Days, One Night (Deux jours, une nuit / Dva dny, jedna noc) with Marion Cotillard is a highlight.

For more information visit www.festivalff.cz or www.facebook.com/festivalff

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