Febiofest drawing to a close

The big film festival still has several interesting offerings

The Febiofest film festival is underway and will run in Prague until March 23, with films mostly at Cinestar Anděl including recent works from around the world and some retrospective sections. Some films will soon be coming into Czech release, but most will only appear at the festival. Almost all of the films at the festival have English and Czech subtitles.

French film director and screenwriter Arnaud Desplechin received the Kristián award for his life work on March 20. The award is named for a popular Czech film from 1939. Desplechin accepted the award at the screening of his new film Ismael's Ghosts, which was partly shot in Prague. He was accompanied by actor Hippolyte Girardot, who played a film producer in the film about making films.

The scene in Prague was part of a spy film that the main character, a crazed film director played by Mathieu Amalric, was imagining.

Before receiving his award, Desplechin spoke to the press. He said he chose Prague for the fantasy sequence because he wanted someplace exotic in Europe, and Prague has a tradition as a location for spy films. He particularly liked the shopping passages around Wenceslas Square for their mood. A climactic scene takes place just off of Vodičkova Street. Another exotic location he used was Tajikistan.

While the film is about a director, Desplechin has little in common with the film’s main character. His own work methods are much more organized. The director in the film, for example, goes insane and locks himself in an attic to drink heavily and abuse medication. Desplechin says his routine for writing and directing is much more boring. He does often use a beach house, though, like the director in the film does in his more same moments.

Ismael's Ghosts at its center is a love triangle, with filmmaking as a side plot. Marion Cotillard and Charlotte Gainsbourg also star in it. Several more of Desplechin’s films will be shown in a retrospective. A screening of his film A Christmas Tale has been added on March 21 at 8:30 pm at Cinestar Anděl.

Other films remaining in the festival include Roman J. Israel, Esq., which had an Oscar-nominated performance by Denzel Washington, and previews of the thriller 7 Days in Entebbe, based on a real hijacking incident. Richard Linklater’s Last Flag Flying is a road movie about three aging veterans on a final mission to bury one of their sons. It stars Steve Carell, Bryan Cranston and Laurence Fishburne.

The Swedish-German film Euphoria features the new Tomb Raider star Alicia Vikander along with Eva Green and Charlotte Rampling in a futuristic tale of two sisters on a mysterious trip.

Action fans looking for something unusual can check out the South African film Five Fingers for Marseilles, which is set in the Apartheid era and shows the influence of spaghetti westerns.

Horror fans still can catch the subtle and unsettling Canadian zombie film The Ravenous as well as a retrospective screening of Faun’s Labyrinth. Rock connoisseurs might like Eric Clapton: Life in Twelve Bars.

There are also several entries left in Queer Now, New Europe, Panorama, Central Park and other sections.

The closing film of the festival is Battle of the Sexes, starring Emma Stone and Steve Carell in the famous 1973 tennis match meant to show a man could always beat a woman.

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