Book your tickets before this one's booked-out
Posted: March 6, 2013
Febiofest is Prague's biggest and most prestigious film festival, and tickets are on sale now - but maybe not for much longer.
As in previous years, the Golden City's biggest feature festival will present a variety of sections and draw big names as part of a continuous effort to promote the production of film industries both small and large from around the world. The weeklong festival, which will take place primarily at CineStar Anděl, kicks off Thursday, March 14, but tickets go on sale Wednesday, March 6, and, if past editions are anything to go by, it is best to go online and buy immediately as most shows are often sold-out by the time it starts.
This is a big year for Febiofest: the 20th. To celebrate this milestone, many past winners of the coveted Kristian Award for Contribution to Cinema will come back to Prague to present their latest films. Among those whose presence has already been confirmed are actress Geraldine Chaplin, director Olivier Assayas and producer Jeremy Thomas.
One of the highlights of the festival, however, is bound to be the appearance of the U.S. director Richard Lester, best-known for his work in the United Kingdom and in particular for his two cult classics starring The Beatles: A Hard Day's Night and Help! The latter will be screened as part of the retrospective that honors his work, which also includes the 1965 winner of the Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festival, The Knack … And How to Get It.
When: March 14-22
Where: CineStar Anděl and Malostranská beseda in Prague; venues in 12 cities around the country
Tickets: 89 Kč
The festival sections range from geographical clusters and queer cinema to retrospectives and films in which music plays a central part. This last section, "From Swing to Rap," will feature works such as Singin' in the Rain, Across the Universe and the 1964 Czechoslovak anti-war film Kdyby tisíc klarinetů (If a Thousand Clarinets) at the newly renovated Malostranská beseda.
But the music isn't just onscreen and recorded: It will also be onstage and live, as the annual Febiofest Music Festival returns to the underground parking garages of CineStar Anděl and is free. The organizers promise a mix of "world music, reggae, ska, electro, rock, funk and many other genres" and a full program is available online at Febiofest.cz/
There will be something for everyone on the program this year, but one of the most important films is the three-part "Paradise" trilogy of the extraordinary Austrian director Ulrich Seidl comprising Paradies: Liebe, Paradies: Glaube and Paradies: Hoffnung (Love, Faith and Hope), which will be shown in its entirety here.
"This complete trilogy about paradise is very exclusive [to Febiofest]," spokesman Pavel Sladký says. "It was completed at the Berlinale [in February], and this will probably be the first full screening of the trilogy."
These three, as almost all the other 180-odd films on the program - with a few rare exceptions that unfortunately include the Chilean drama No, about a real-life advertising campaign during the Pinochet years - will be English-friendly. All films not in Czech will also be screened with Czech subtitles.
Zaida Bergroth, the director of last year's Grand Prix-winning Hyvä poika (The Good Son) - an excruciating look at a teenager's complicated relationship with his mother - returns to Prague to screen her début film, 2009's Skavabölen pojat (Last Cowboy Standing), as part of a wider look at Finnish cinema today. "Road North - Focus Finland" will be complemented by a retrospective of producer Tero Kaukomaa's work, which Sladký describes as films "mixing the harsh reality of Finland with a poetic view."
About a dozen films already have local distributors lined up, including what Steven Soderbergh has announced would be his final film, Side Effects, and the Coen brothers-scripted Gambit, but the others are counting on word of mouth, which the packed cinemas will almost certainly generate.
Also be on the lookout for a screening of the 1980s Polish classic Seksmisja (Sexmission), Une Estonienne à Paris (A Lady in Paris) by the formidable Estonian director Ilmar Raag, and The Place Beyond the Pines, the latest film by Blue Valentine director Derek Cianfrance.
After closing in Prague March 22, the festival will immediately move on to major towns and cities across the country, from Karlovy Vary to Opava to Brno, for the "Febiofest Echoes."
With so little time left before the festival starts, and those tickets just on sale, it's essential to start looking for your kind of film right away.
André Crous can be reached at