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Join the resistance with the second year of this fledgling festival

A cinematic golden age can arise in many different ways. For what’s now known as the Czechoslovakian New Wave, it was the innovation and subversion required to navigate between state-funded filmmaking and oppressive censorship requirements.

“It meant a lot of very poetic films were made,” says Cerise Howard, Artistic Director of the Czech and Slovak Film Festival. “They couldn’t explicitly criticise the regime – though many of them found ways to do that. It was a period of amazing creativity and productivity which peaked in the mid-to-late ‘60s... before the Soviets rolled the tanks into Prague and kind of ruined everybody’s fun.”

Howard first travelled to the Czech Republic for a film festival, “and fell for Prague as soon as I arrived in it. Ever since, it has been a love affair.” This is only the second year for CaSFFA – a grass-roots, volunteer-run, not-for-profit festival – and while Howard says the first year required a “huge learning curve”, this year’s even bigger.

Among many other, the festival includes a retrospective of the Czech surrealist animator and filmmaker Jan Švankmajer over three Wednesdays at Melbourne Cinémathèque; Agnieszka Holland’s Burning Bush, an HBO Europe drama focusing on the 1969 self-immolation of a history student in Prague, and the subsequent attempts to discount his act of resistance as an ‘accident’; and one of Howard’s favourites: Birds, Orphans, and Fools. “It was made in the wake of the Prague Spring,” she says. “It suggests that under an oppressive regime, why not at least mock the whole apparatus and go a bit crazy?”

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By Martyn Pedler   |  

Czech & Slovak Film Festival of Australia 2014 video

Czech & Slovak Film Festival of Australia 2014 details

Swanston St, Melbourne 3000

Telephone 03 9655 1900

Nearby Stations: Flinders Street

Price $15.00 to $30.00

Date 21 Aug 2014-29 Aug 2014

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