10 Tips for the Febiofest Film Festival 2018 in Prague
The Febiofest Film Festival, one of the largest in Prague (alongside the just-wrapped One World Film Festival) is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, and iconic film figures like French actress Catherine Deneuve are currently in Prague to kick things off.
This year’s Febiofest will overtake the halls of Prague’s CineStar Anděl from March 15-23, and includes nearly 200 films screening in the cinemas 12 theaters throughout the nine-day festival along with an accompanying program that includes music concerts and other events.
After Prague, the festival will move to other cities across the Czech Republic including Liberec, Ostrava, and Brno.
Best of all: tickets to Febiofest screenings are just 99 CZK (nearly half the price of a regular multiplex ticket), and can be purchased in advance from the festival website, avoiding the queues of most big film festivals.
But what to see? Febiofest traditionally gives Praguers a chance to see highly-rated film festival hits from the past year that have yet to receive local distribution, along with some new local releases and special previews of movies scheduled for local cinemas later this spring.
Here are 10 highlights from this year’s festival program:
On Chesil Beach (pictured above)
This adaptation of Ian McEwan’s acclaimed 2007 novel stars Saoirse Ronan and Emily Watson. It screened at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival and will open wide internationally later this year.
Brawl in Cell Block 99
This new thriller from the director of the intense Bone Tomahawk was included on a certain Best of 2017 lists, and is said to include a career-redefining performance by star Vince Vaughn.
Based on a True Story
This latest film from director Roman Polanski, screened out of competition at Cannes last year, stars Eva Green alongside his wife, Emmanuelle Seigner.
This Israeli drama won the Silver Lion at last year’s Venice Film Festival, and made it to the shortlist for the Academy Award for Best Foreign-Language Film.
Sicilian Ghost Story
The infamous kidnapping and murder of 13-year-old Giuseppe Di Matteo is the basis for this new Italian drama, which mixes magic realism with its real-world backdrop.
Call Me by Your Name
At 89, James Ivory became the oldest-ever recipient of an Oscar for his Call Me by Your Name screenplay at this year’s Academy Awards. Febiofest audiences will have the first peek at this drama starring Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet, which is set for a wide release in Prague from March 22.
Hagazussa: A Heathen’s Curse
This new horror film isn’t for the faint of heart. From The Hollywood Reporter’s Stephen Dalton: “Anyone who found the deranged cannibalistic excesses of Darren Arofonsky’s mother! a little too vanilla should feast their senses on the deliciously dark flavors of Hagazussa: A Heathen’s Curse.”
Director Todd Haynes' follow-up to his acclaimed Carol didn't strike the same kind of nerves, but this drama starring Julianne Moore is still worth seeking out. It has yet to receive a release date in the Czech Republic.
The Third Murder
This mystery-thriller represents a decided change of pace for acclaimed director Hirokazu Koreeda (After the Storm, Nobody Knows). The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw calls it “a captivating puzzle.”
Not to be confused with the 2007 Nicole Kidman thriller, this new drama starring Czech director Jiří Menzel and Austrian actor Peter Simonischek (Toni Erdmann) from Slovak director Martin Šulík premiered last month at the Berlin International Film Festival. It hits most Prague cinemas from the 15th, but Febiofest is screening what I believe may be the only English-subtitled version (at the moment).