Film Festival Returns to the Czech Republic’s *Other* Spa Town!
Way back in the 1940s, in the the post-war years following WWII, organizers in the newly (re)established Czechoslovakia were seeking a suitable town for what would become a prominent film festival intended to showcase the country’s burgeoning film industry.
They settled on two options, both spa towns in Western Bohemia: Karlovy Vary and Mariánské Lázně, better known by foreign guests as Carlsbad and Marienbad at the time.
In 1946, the country’s very first International Film Festival was held in Mariánské Lázně, with an accompanying program that screened some of the films in Karlovy Vary. For the next four years, the festival was primarily held in Marienbad.
But in 1950, the event was moved permanently to Karlovy Vary, which was deemed a more suitable location for the growing film festival, which was screening more film and attracting more guests.
The rest is history: the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival is now one of the oldest and most respected in Europe, and recently celebrated its 52nd edition earlier this summer.
This year, however, film fest atmosphere will finally return to Mariánské Lázně under the banner of the Marienbad Film Festival, which will take place next week from August 29 until September 2. It’s only the second edition of the Marienbad Film Festival, which began in earnest last year.
The beginnings are humble, with this year’s festival focused on discovering new talent by primarily showcasing a number of new short films alongside a few Czech and Hollywood classics. Fourteen new Czech films will screen during the festival, which also includes a section dedicated to Austrian experimental films.
It all kicks off on Tuesday with a selection of Czech avant-garde shorts from the 1920s through the 1940s, followed by an opening night screening of the classic Hollywood musical Singin’ in the Rain.
Among the highlights at this year’s festival will be the presentation of a newly-restored print of Gustav Machatý’s silent classic Erotikon, which will be accompanied by a live score courtesy of the West Bohemian Symphony Orchestra of Mariánské Lázně (Západočeský symfonický orchestr Mariánské Lázně).
The 1957 Audrey Hepburn-Fred Astaire classic Funny Face will be presented to close out the festival next weekend.
Festival passes and tickets for each individual event can be purchased from the official website and at goout.cz.