Ukrainian, Czech films in spotlight at CinEast festival
Ukrainian and Czech films will be at the forefront of this year’s CinEast film festival, which includes feature films, discussions with directors and audience debates.
This year’s theme is ‘communities’ and focuses on the Czech Republic, which is currently taking presidency of the Council of the European Union, and a country with a long film tradition, including directors such as Miloš Forman, Jiří Menzel and Věra Chytilová.
There will be 11 Czech feature films and five shorts, plus programmes for children. Screenings include the new film by Petr Václav, Il Boemo, about composer Josef Mysliveček, which premiered at the San Sebastian Film Festival earlier in September, and Zátopek, depicting the life of the Czech long-distance runner and winner of three gold medals during the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, where Luxembourg’s Josy Barthel won a gold medal.
On 8 October there will be a Czech evening at Cinémathèque, where two documentaries will be screened – The Visitors, and Every Single Minute, in the presence of their directors, followed by a discussion on sustainability and communities. So-called ciné-concerts offering live soundtracks to silent films will be held on 12 October when 1924 movie, White Paradise, will be accompanied by multi-instrumentalist Tomáš Vtipil, and on 23 October, when trio Neuvěřitelno will accompany a 101-year-old Czech film The Arrival from the Darkness.
The opening night of CinEast features Czech electro-pop band MYDY, playing at Melusina club. There will be an open air exhibition of posters from films in this year’s festival on display outside the Czech embassy, and photographer Roman Franc’s works are part of the exhibition, where there will be a chance to try out Moravian wine and Czech food specialities.
To show solidarity with the Ukrainian community in Luxembourg, CinEast has organised a programme of six feature films by Ukrainian filmmakers. The programme showcases directors, artists, and musicians from Ukraine, and raises money for the charity CinEast4Ukraine, which hopes to send an ambulance to the war-torn country.
In addition to feature film screenings, there will be a short film evening, showing recent documentaries about Ukraine, followed by a debate at Neimënster cultural centre on 12 October.
There will also be two concerts, one by rock-folk band Joryi Kloc, on 20 October, another by electro-acoustic ensemble DZ’0B the day before. Ukrainian photographer Alina Smutko and US photographer based in Ukraine, Brendan Hoffman, will display their work at the ‘communities’ exhibition, both depicting the solidarity and resilience of local communities facing destruction and shortages.
Head to the Ancien Cinema in Vianden for an exhibition entitled Chameleon Women from Ukraine, which mixes photography and art by Alyona Sukhorukova who fled Ukraine during the war and now lives in Luxembourg.
The festival’s opening film, Luxembourg, Luxembourg is a comedy by Antonio Lukich, also shortlisted for the festival's young talent award. It tells of Ukrainian brothers Kolya and Vasily, abandoned by their father as children. They later discover their dying father is living in Luxembourg set out on a journey to see him one last time.
Plight of women
The film is one of many Luxembourg co-productions – Eric Stoneheart, co-produced alongside an Estonian director, Pamfir, with a Ukrainian director, Beanie by a Slovenian director, And He said Yes! by Luxembourg-Lithuanian artist Gintare Parylyte, who produces a regular webseries called Ladybits on YouTube.
Three of the seven films put forward for the Grand Prize focus on the plight of women.
107 Mothers covers the story of a young Ukrainian woman, Lesya, who gives birth in a women’s correctional facility in Odessa. She can keep her baby until the age of three, after which the child must be adopted or go to an orphanage. Filmed over five years, it documents the everyday life of inmates, nurses, and children.
How is Katia? is a debut film from Ukrainian director Christina Tynkevych, offering refined cinematography and an award-winning performance from Anastasija Karpenko as Anna, a paramedic and single mother to Katia. A car accident makes Anna question her moral compass, whilst the audience will feel a palpable pull on the heartstrings.
Slovenian-Australian director Sara Kern, also debuts at the festival with Moja Vesna, the story of two sisters living on the outskirts of Melbourne, hit by the tragedy of their mother’s sudden death. Younger sister Moja busies herself with the imminent arrival of her sister Vesna’s baby. It’s a touching story of loss and grief, from the perspective of a 10-year-old girl.
Debates, themed evenings and music
Thirty guests will hold audience Q&A sessions, known as cinedebates, and themed evenings entitled Young and confused, Friday’s for the planet and Odd movies night. School screenings and cartoons without words for children are included in the schedule.
Women’s debates will look at the legacy of witch hunts in Europe, and focus on the topics of gender equality, sexual empowerment, and deconstructing misogynist stereotypes.
Films will be screened at Neimënster cultural centre, Cinémathèque, Ciné Utopia, Kinepolis Kirchberg, Ancien Cinéma in Vianden, Ciné Starlight (CNA) in Dudelange, Kulturfabrik in Esch and also the Achteinhalb cinema in Saarbrücken, but will also be available online via the festival’s dedicated video on-demand platform. Concerts will be held at Melusina, Rockhal, Rotondes, and Neimënster.
The festival presents films from all the former communist countries that have become EU Members – Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia – as well as all the other countries of the former Yugoslavia, including Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro and Kosovo. Albania, Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia and Belarus are also represented at the festival.
You can find the full programme of screenings and events here.